Friday, 21 March 2008

Oil prices fall in Asian trade

Oil prices fall in Asian trade
20 Mar 2008, 1326 hrs IST,AFP

SINGAPORE: World oil prices continued to fall in Asian trade on Thursday, with more volatility expected as investors continue to assess the US economy, dealers said.

In early morning trade, New York's main contract, light sweet crude for May fell 60 cents to USD 101.94 per barrel from its close of USD 102.54 during floor trading in the US on Wednesday.

The April contract had expired on Wednesday at USD 104.48 a barrel, after plummeting USD 4.94. The contract had hit a record peak of USD 111.80 on Monday.

London's Brent North Sea crude for May dropped 60 cents to USD 100.12 a barrel, after settling at USD 100.72 on Wednesday.

The commodities market is in a situation where "investor sentiment is potentially shifting" as they reassess the outlook for the US economy, said David Moore, a commodity strategist at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Sydney.

"The market has been extremely volatile over the last week, and it is very difficult to say with any confidence when prices could bottom or turn around," said Moore.

Traders continued to focus on the global credit squeeze amid concerns over the impact it might have on global economic growth and oil demand, and largely overlooked the headline US energy inventory data showing a smaller-than- expected rise in crude supplies.

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said crude stocks rose by just 200,000 barrels to 311.8 million barrels in the week ended March 14, about average for this time of the year.

Markets were expecting stocks to rise by around 2.3 million barrels.

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