Singapore: Oil prices were mixed in Asian trade on Thursday, as investors weighed concerns over a supply disruption in the Middle East and a surge in US crude stockpiles, analysts said.
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in April was up 25 cents to USD 105.68 while Brent North Sea crude for April delivery shed eight cents to USD 124.89 in morning trade.
"Crude prices have broadly stalled, albeit at relatively high levels," said Sanjeev Gupta, head of the Asia-Pacific oil and gas practice at financial services firm Ernst & Young.
"Supply concerns are keeping prices elevated, but concerns are rising that high prices will undermine potential demand growth," he said in a commentary.
Figures released yesterday by the US Department of Energy (DoE) showed crude stocks were at a nine-month high after rising by 2.5 million barrels last week. A rise in crude inventory is seen as a sign of weakening demand.
The DoE in the weekly report said total products supplied to the market over the past four weeks were down 5.4 per cent from a year ago, with unseasonably warm weather continuing across much of the country.
Meanwhile, continued tensions between crude producer Iran and the West remain a key concern for traders, analysts said.
Iran yesterday condemned what it said was the use of oil as a political tool against producers, referring to Western sanctions over its controversial nuclear programme.
Tehran has repeatedly said its nuclear activities are exclusively peaceful.
First Published: Thursday, March 15, 2012, 10:07