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Oil prices mixed in Asia

Oil prices

Singapore: Oil prices were mixed in Asia today as lingering worries over the crude supply glut held down gains sparked by stronger US demand and a falling dollar, analysts said.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for September delivery dropped three cents to USD 43.27 and Brent crude for September gained six cents to USD 49.72 in midday trade.

Prices had edged higher from six-year lows yesterday on news that US crude supplies fell — a sign of stronger demand — and the dollar declined.

The US Department of Energy yesterday said the estimated amount of crude oil in the country’s commercial storage tanks tumbled 1.7 million barrels to 453.6 million barrels in the week ending August 7.

The report also said US domestic oil production fell 70,000 barrels a day to about 9.4 million barrels, which is positive for oil prices in an oversupplied market.

The dollar took a hit after China’s surprise move to devalue the yuan, with analysts saying this could delay plans by the US central bank to raise interest rates, a move previously expected as early as September.

A weaker US currency makes dollar-priced oil cheaper for holders of other units, perking up demand and supporting prices.

But analysts said gains in oil in New York, where prices edged up yesterday from six-year lows, were being held back by continued concerns over a glut in the world crude market.

“The market is just bearish overall,” said Daniel Ang, an investment analyst with Phillip Futures in Singapore.

“There’s still no big change to the supply and demand fundamentals in the oil market,” he told AFP.

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