Oil prices extend losses in Asian trade


SINGAPORE: Oil prices fell in Asia on Friday, extending sharp losses in the previous session as traders fretted about a global oversupply, analysts said.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for June delivery eased 31 cents to $58.63 while Brent crude for June declined 18 cents to $65.36 in afternoon trade.

WTI had tumbled $1.99 in New York on Thursday and Brent closed down $2.23 in London.

“There’s been volatility coming into the crude market in the past few days and concerns about rising crude supply is one of the reasons,” Bernard Aw, market strategist at IG Markets in Singapore, told Agence France-Presse.

“The market has become sensitive to data about supply . . . On one hand some are seeing supply as slowing, but the numbers are not showing that,” he added.

Oil prices closed at 2015 peaks on Wednesday after the latest official US stockpiles report showed crude reserves tumbled 3.9 million barrels in the week to May 1, the first decline in 16 weeks.

The bullishness in the market, however, wore off on Thursday as dealers digested data in the report showing US crude-oil production slipped only marginally, by 4,000 barrels to 9.4 million barrels a day.

Commercial crude stockpiles in the world’s top consumer, currently standing at 487 million barrels, are more than 100 million barrels above the five-year average for this time of the year, according to Bloomberg News.

Traders have been hoping a steady decline in US production could pave the way for an easing of a global supply glut that has depressed prices since last year.

Aw said dealers will next scrutinize the US jobs report for April to be released later Friday to gauge whether the economy is strong enough for the Federal Reserve to begin raising ultra-low interest rates.

US employers likely added 228,000 workers to non-farm payrolls last month, after a 126,000 increase in March, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg.



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