Oil prices turn slightly higher in Asian trade

SINGAPORE - World oil prices turned slightly higher in Asian trade on Thursday after an unexpectedly low increase in United States crude stocks and a drop in petrol inventories.

By (AFP)

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Published: Thu 15 May 2008, 1:51 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 1:35 PM

New York's main oil futures contract, light sweet crude for June delivery, rose 26 cents to 124.48 dollars per barrel.

The benchmark contract had closed down 1.58 dollars at 124.22 dollars a barrel on Wednesday at the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Brent North Sea crude for June rose 35 cents to 122.21 dollars, after settling 2.24 dollars lower at 121.86 dollars in London on Wednesday.

Both contracts had traded slightly lower in Asian morning trade.

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported Wednesday that American crude oil reserves rose by 200,000 barrels in the week ending May 9. That was less than market expectations for a gain of 2.25 million barrels.

The EIA also said US gasoline, or petrol, stockpiles fell by 1.7 million barrels, which was larger than analysts' consensus forecasts for a drop of 200,000 barrels.

New York crude struck a record high of 126.98 dollars a barrel on Tuesday despite a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) which cut its forecast for growth in global oil demand.

‘Basically the market is coming off a fair bit... with the inventory report the most important factor,’ said Dave Ernsberger, Asia director of global energy information provider Platts in Singapore.

The Paris-based IEA, energy policy adviser to major industrialised countries, predicted that crude oil demand in 2008 would stand at 86.8 million barrels per day (bpd) -- about 390,000 bpd less than its previous estimate given in April.

The energy monitoring agency also said it now estimated world oil demand in 2007 at 85.8 million bpd, 150,000 barrels less than the April estimate.

Oil prices have surged since crashing through the 100-dollar-a-barrel barrier at the start of the year, but analysts said the market has recently been looking overbought.

‘Perhaps the bull run is coming to a slowdown,’ Ernsberger said.

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