Singapore: Oil prices edged lower in Asian trade on Wednesday as investors await the release of US crude stockpiles data for clues about demand in the world's top energy consumer, analysts said.
New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in August, was down 45 cents at USD 105.55 a barrel in morning trade, while Brent North Sea crude for the new September contract shed 26 cents to USD 107.88.
"Trading is very quiet at the moment, and there's nothing major for traders to cling on to make a move," Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney, said.
"There is some anticipation about the stockpiles numbers, but that is still hours away," he said.
The US Department of Energy is set to publish later Wednesday its weekly commercial petroleum inventories report, an indicator of the strength of demand in the economy.
Analysts expect the report, for the week ended July 12, will show stocks fell 2.2 million barrels, according to a survey by Dow Jones Newswires.
Over the prior two weeks, crude supplies plummeted nearly 20 million barrels, much more than analysts had expected.
Prices were also hit by a pick-up in the US dollar, McCarthy said. A stronger greenback makes dollar-priced oil more expensive for buyers using weaker currencies.
First Published: Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 10:12