Oil prices rise ahead of US stockpiles report
Singapore: Oil prices rose in Asia on Wednesday as investors expect a US stockpiles report to show a fall, indicating firm demand in the world's top crude consumer, analysts said.
New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in November climbed 16 cents to USD 103.29 in mid-morning trade, while Brent North Sea crude for November added 12 cents to USD 108.76.
"A near-term factor in the market is the US crude stockpiles report, which should indicate a further drawdown bringing inventories to a five-month low," Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney, said.
Analysts surveyed by the Wall Street Journal tipped reserves to have fallen by an average of 900,000 barrels in the week to September 20.
The US Energy Information Administration will release the figures later today.
Dealers are also eyeing a possible thawing of ties between the US and oil producer Iran.
During an address to the United Nations yesterday, US President Barack Obama pushed for pursuing diplomacy with Iran's new government, but called on Tehran to be transparent about its nuclear programme.
Iran's economy has been crippled by a series of UN and US sanctions aimed at bringing an end to its nuclear programme, which the West claims is being used to develop nuclear weapons. Iran denies the assertion.