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Oil prices down in Asian trade

Singapore:  Oil prices fell in Asia today on a stronger dollar as traders grow concerned about Greece’s troubled debt negotiations, while the International Energy Agency’s prediction of an end to the recent surge in demand added downward pressure.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for July delivery fell 22 cents to USD 60.55 while Brent crude for July eased 16 cents to USD 64.95 in late-morning trade.

Oil prices turned “bearish after the dollar’s rally against the euro on Greek debt worries weighed on demand for commodities”, Singapore’s United Overseas Bank said in a market commentary.

The euro fell to USD 1.1255 in Asia from USD 1.1260 in New York Thursday and USD 1.1323 on Wednesday with markets on edge about troubled Greek negotiations with its creditors.

The stronger greenback makes crude more expensive for buyers using weaker currencies.

Also, the Paris-based IEA said there were “doubts” that some reasons for a recent pickup in demand — such as an exceptionally cold European winter that lifted heating demand  – would be repeated.

It also pointed to “signs of persistent oversupply” in the market in light of still-high US crude output and record production from key OPEC members.

However, in its monthly report on the oil market, the IEA lifted its 2015 demand forecast to 94 million barrels a day, 300,000 more than the previous level.

The increased forecast came after world oil demand soared in the first three months of 2015.

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