World oil prices stable before US inventories data
London: Global oil prices steadied Wednesday as dealers anticipated a fresh rise in US stockpiles that would indicate weak demand in the world`s top crude consumer.
New York`s main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in January dipped 39 cents to USD 93.29 per barrel.
Brent North Sea crude for January added 49 cents to USD 111.37 a barrel in London early afternoon trade.
"The focus is currently on the US inventory figures where we are likely to see a further increase," Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney, told AFP.
"There has been a few refinery closures in the US, and supply will remain on the high side even as we enter the winter season," he said.
Analysts expect the Department of Energy`s weekly report -- due at 1530 GMT on Wednesday -- to show an increase of 500,000 barrels in crude inventories for the week ending November 22.
Over the nine previous weeks the inventories grew by 32.8 million barrels to 388.5 million.
A rise in US stockpiles indicates weak demand in the world`s biggest economy and oil consuming nation, putting downward pressure on prices.
Traders will also digest a barrage of key US data before Thursday`s Thanksgiving holiday.
Jobless claims, durable goods orders and consumer sentiment are all due on Wednesday.
"There is a wealth of major US economic data for investors to keep an eye on, ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday in the US tomorrow," said Sucden analyst Myrto Sokou.
"The release of the weekly jobless claims will give a better insight about the US employment conditions, while durable goods and Chicago Fed National activity index could give further direction to the oil market. The University of Michigan survey could also provide a better insight about the current economic conditions, market confidence and expectations of the US economy."
Investors are also absorbing the implications of the weekend agreement between world powers and Iran, in which the major oil producer will get modest sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its disputed nuclear programme.
The Islamic republic has been crippled by a series of UN and US sanctions aimed at bringing an end to its nuclear drive, which the West claims is being used to develop atomic weapons. Iran denies the assertion.