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Oil prices mixed in Asian trade

Oil prices

Singapore:  Oil prices were mixed in subdued Asian trade today as dealers searched for fresh cues following public holidays in the United States and much of Europe, analysts said.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for July delivery gained 12 cents to USD 59.84 while Brent crude for July fell one cent to USD 65.51 in late-morning trade.

“Trading has been at such low volumes that we can’t see the impact on the oil market,” Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney, told AFP.

There was no floor trading of crude in New York and London yesterday.

McCarthy said a resurgent US dollar remained of concern. The greenback was changing hands at 121.74 yen against 121.66 yen Monday afternoon and well up from 121.52 yen in New York on Friday.

The unit’s rise has been supported by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s comments last week that she expects to hike interest rates “at some point this year”.

Interest rate adjustments are closely watched by crude investors as an increase usually leads to a pick-up in the greenback, making dollar-priced oil more expensive for buyers using weaker currencies.

McCarthy said there are signs oil prices have stabilised following sharp fluctuations as investors weighed concerns about conflicts in the crude-rich Middle East with a global supply glut.

“I wouldn’t say that oil is on an uptrend but neither is it on a steady fall. Oil has stabilised at current prices, and we expect both the WTI and Brent to remain in this USD 60-USD 70 range over the next couple of weeks,” said McCarthy.

Analysts said traders are awaiting the release of key US data this week, including durable goods orders figures today, a crude stockpiles report on Wednesday and the second reading of first-quarter gross domestic product Friday.

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