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Oil prices inch up to hold above US$96 a barrel after decline on US housing data

Oil prices inch up to hold above US$96 a barrel after decline on US housing data

Oil prices edged up Monday in Asia after declining in the previous session on a housing report that ignited fresh concerns about the U.S. economy.
Light, sweet crude for February delivery added 11 cents to US$96.11 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange by midday in Singapore.
The contract fell 62 cents to settle at US$96 a barrel Friday after a report showed weak figures on new home sales in the United States. The data again raised fears about a possible economic slowdown in the world's largest consumer of oil products.
Oil prices remain supported, though, by concerns about supply disruptions from the oil-rich Middle East.
Turkish jets hit suspected Kurdish rebel shelters in northern Iraq for a third time on Dec. 26. Turkey has also launched a cross border raid and fired artillery at Kurdish rebel positions since the first airstrike on Dec. 16. The rebels have vowed to take the group's battle for autonomy deep inside Turkey if the cross-border airstrikes do not stop.
The heightening of tensions in the Middle East usually brings worries that oil shipments from the region will be reduced or halted.
In late November, oil threatened to rise to US$100 a barrel. It has since retreated as supplies appeared to be growing and demand seemed to be falling. But over the past several weeks, inventories have fallen in the U.S. while demand has remained strong.
Gasoline futures have been pushed to new records in recent days, in part by the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index's plan to boost its gasoline futures holdings next month.
The US$90 billion (euro61 billion) fund, administered by Standard & Poor's, will boost its gasoline futures holdings by about US$3 billion (euro2 billion), according to Tom Kloza, publisher and chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service. That would raise its percentage holding in gasoline futures to 4.55 percent of the fund from 1.37 percent.
In other Nymex trading Monday, heating oil futures rose 0.65 cent to US$2.6435 a gallon (3.8 liters) while natural gas prices dropped 5.3 cents to US$7.333 per 1,000 cubic feet.
In London, February Brent crude added 9 cents to US$93.97 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.


Updated : 2021-02-25 10:44 GMT+08:00