Code 48420
PublishDate: Tuesday, March 27, 2012 15:12

Oil prices lower in Asian trade

New York’s main contract shed 24 cents to $106.79 per barrel while Brent North Sea crude was down 29 cents at $125.36.

New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for delivery in May, shed 24 cents to $106.79 per barrel while Brent North Sea crude for May settlement was down 29 cents at $125.36 in the afternoon.

Despite the US central bank chief on Monday signalling that its easy monetary policy would be kept in place to boost the world’s biggest economy, investors remained wary about weak demand in China.

“Investors will be watching very closely as more data about China’s first quarter performance comes out in the next few weeks,” Nick Trevethan, senior commodities strategist at ANZ Research, told AFP.

Investors’ worries have been stoked by the recent spate of glum data out of China, including contracting manufacturing activity and a huge trade deficit amid falling demand from debt-wracked Europe — the biggest buyer of Chinese exports.

Barclays Capital also said prices remain volatile because global crude buffers are thin.

“With spare capacity at no more than 1.7 million barrels per day and inventories well below the seasonal average, the lack of shock absorbents lends itself to an extremely nervous market, the result of which is heightened volatility,” it said in a market commentary.

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