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Oil prices higher in Asian trade

Singapore: Oil prices rose in Asia today on expectations that the latest US stockpiles report will show a further dip in crude reserves as traders worry about a global oversupply, analysts said.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for July delivery rose 21 cents to USD 57.72 while Brent crude for July gained 46 cents to USD 62.52 in late-morning trade.

The Department of Energy’s weekly petroleum report, usually released on Wednesdays, will be issued today owing to a public holiday at the start of the week.

“Speculation that US oil inventories could decline again in tonight’s weekly report appears to have attracted some relative support” to prices, said Nicholas Teo, market analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore.

Analysts expect inventories fell for a fourth consecutive week, by 2.0 million barrels, according to a survey by Bloomberg News. The stockpiles currently stand at 482.2 million barrels, just below record highs.

Dealers have been hoping a slowdown in US output, coupled with increased demand during the summer driving season, could whittle down global supplies, which was a key reason for the collapse in prices of more than 50 percent between June and January.

Dealers are also closely monitoring a potential rise in Iraqi oil exports, which could exacerbate the global glut.

“On the global market, Iraq is planning to escalate its export by 26 percent to a record 3.75 million barrels per day in June,” said Sanjeev Gupta, head of the Asia-Pacific oil and gas practice at business consultancy firm EY.

“If the planned export is fulfilled, a global glut will persist,” he said.

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