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Oil prices edge up in Asia, eyes on US stockpiles report

Hong Kong :  Oil prices edged up today after retreating the previous day but gains were tempered by long-running worries about a supply glut and a weak global economic outlook.

The black gold retreated yesterday after a weekend report from China, the world’s second biggest economy and number-one energy use, showed exports and imports — particularly of crude –tumbled last month.

And today fresh figures showed inflation in the country slowed further in October, compounding fears about the nation’s outlook.

Adding to the selling was news the Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD) had cut its growth outlook for the world economy for this year and next.

Traders are also keeping an eye on a US stockpiles report from the Energy Information Administration due out later in the week, looking for any signs of a pick-up in demand.

Futures for US benchmark West Texas Intermediate were trading 29 cents higher at USD 44.16 and Brent crude was up 20 cents at USD 47.39 a barrel at around 0440 GMT.

Markets in Singapore are closed Tuesday for a holiday. Prices have plunged from levels above USD 100 over the past year owing to a supply glut, weak demand, a slowdown in China’s economic growth and a refusal by production cartel OPEC to cut output.

“It’s still a story about supply,” Jonathan Barratt, chief investment officer at Ayers Alliance Securities in Sydney, said by phone. “Oil is going to bounce around this range for some time but I don’t think it’ll drop to new lows.”

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