Oil extends losses in Asian trade
Singapore: US oil prices extended their losses in Asian trade today as dealers focused on rising stockpiles that indicate weak demand in the world's biggest economy, analysts said.
New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in December, slipped 16 cents to USD 98.14 a barrel. The November contract expired on Tuesday after declining USD 1.42 to settle at USD 97.80.
Brent North Sea crude for December delivery eased three cents to USD 109.94.
WTI prices tumbled since Monday, when a US Department of Energy (DoE) report showed inventories rose 4.0 million barrels in the week ended October 11, well above the 1.7 million barrel increase forecast by analysts. The report had been delayed owing to the two-week government shutdown.
The DoE is set to release the petroleum report for the week ended October 18 later today.
"WTI remains under pressure because of expectations that the report later today will show a further increase in US stockpiles," Kenny Kan, market analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore, told AFP.
Despite easing in Asian trading hours, Kan said Brent, the European benchmark, remained supported by concerns over a disruption to Middle East supplies.
According to reports, an official from Libya's National Oil Corp on Tuesday said output had stabilised to around 600,000 barrels even as authorities struggle to end armed protests that cut shipments for months.
Libyan oil exports had plunged by more than 70 per cent after protesters, including policemen and border guards, forced the terminals to shut over demands for back pay.