Oil prices up in Asian trade

Oil prices rose in Asian trade today as investors await the release of US Federal Reserve minutes from its April meeting, while keeping an eye on the latest stockpiles data.

PTI| Last Updated: May 21, 2014, 10:04 AM IST

Singapore:Oil prices rose in Asian trade today as investors await the release of US Federal Reserve minutes from its April meeting, while keeping an eye on the latest stockpiles data.

The US benchmark, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in July, rose 57 cents to USD 102.90 in its first day of trading. The June contract ended yesterday.

Brent North Sea crude for July added 21 cents to USD 109.90.

Dealers are squaring positions before they scrutinise the minutes of a two-day Fed meeting that ended on April 30 for clues about the future of the central bank`s stimulus programme and its assessment of the US economy, analysts said.

The minutes to be released later today "will be parsed for insights on the potential evolution of forward guidance and the assessment of labour market slack," French bank Credit Agricole said in a note.

The release of the minutes comes a day after Charles Plosser, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, and a member of the Fed`s key policymaking committee, said business conditions could require the central bank to raise interest rates "sooner rather than later".

However, William Dudley, also a key Fed policymaker and president of the New York Fed, said he preferred a slower pace of tightening.

"Speeches from Fed officials of opposing camps gave little clarity on future monetary policy," said Desmond Chua, market analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore.

"We expect this issue to surface in the ... Minutes later tonight."