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Oil prices mixed in Asia, US crude near six-year lows

Singapore: US crude fell to near six-year lows in Asia today, extending losses in New York as worries about a global oversupply were exacerbated by OPEC warning of a continued petroleum glut, analysts said.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for April delivery was down eight cents to USD 43.80 in late morning trade, the lowest since March 2009.

Brent crude for May, a new contract, rose 27 cents to USD 54.21.

Both contracts fell sharply yesterday after a report by the OPEC oil cartel that questioned the strength of last month’s rally, saying the increase came “despite the fact that global supply continued to exceed demand”.

Singapore’s United Overseas Bank said the price decline was due to “concerns that US crude supplies are at record levels and continue to build up”.

A Bloomberg News survey showed US crude stockpiles are expected to have increase by 3.3 million barrels to 452.2 million in the week ending March 13. The US Energy Information Administration will release the final figure tomorrow.

US crude stockpiles have risen for nine weeks in a row to reach a record 448.9 million barrels on March 6.

Oil prices have dropped about 60 per cent since June last year on mounting US supplies, weak global economic growth and the decision of OPEC to keep output high despite falling prices.

Leading US energy producers have curtailed some investment, resulting in lower weekly rig counts.

Despite the reduced drilling, Goldman Sachs estimated Monday that US output would still grow by 230,000 barrels a day in the fourth quarter of 2015 compared with a year ago.

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