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Oil prices up in Asian trade

Oil prices edged higher in quiet Asian trade Tuesday as dealers hunted bargains while keeping an eye on a supply glut in the United States, analysts said.

New York’s main contract West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for December delivery gained four cents to $94.66 a barrel in mid-morning Asian trade, while Brent North Sea crude for December climbed nine cents to $106.32.

“Prices are relatively muted,” Teoh Say Hwa, head of investment at Phillip Futures in Singapore, told AFP.

“The minimal movement could be due to investors staying on the sidelines before the release of the weekly EIA (Energy Information Administration) report which would give them more directions relating to the US stockpiles,” she said.

Crude inventories in the United States have climbed for the past six weeks, to about 28 million barrels, raising concerns about oversupply in the world’s largest economy and top crude consumer.

WTI is trading below the $95 threshold after falling for four consecutive sessions last week under pressure from the build up in crude stockpiles, before rising slightly on Monday.

The EIA will release its weekly inventory report on Wednesday.

Libyan oil production levels also remain in focus, analysts said. The Libyan state oil company said Monday that protesters had maintained their blockade of the main oil facilities in the country, where production has fallen 80 percent since July.

Mohamed al-Harairi, an official at the National Oil Corporation, told AFP exports from Al-Hariga terminal in eastern Libya, which the government had said would resume by Monday, had not gone ahead for logistical reasons.

Protesters demanding jobs have been blocking terminals since late July, causing around $13 billion in losses to Libya’s oil-dependent economy, authorities say.

Source: AFP

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