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Oil prices down in Asian trade

10 April 2014, 06:59

Singapore - Oil prices eased in Asian trade on Thursday, but losses were curbed by upbeat sentiment over the latest US supply report and lingering doubts about the full resumption of Libyan exports, analysts said.

New York's main contract West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for May delivery dropped 25 cents to $103.35 a barrel in mid-morning trade and Brent North Sea crude for May slid 26c to $107.72.

The Energy Information Administration said US crude supplies jumped 4.0 million barrels for the week ended April 4, well above the 1.0 million forecast by analysts surveyed by the Wall Street Journal.

However, Sanjeev Gupta, the head of the Asia-Pacific oil and gas practice at consultancy firm EY, said oil prices found support from signs of robust gasoline demand.

The EIA report showed a drop of 5.2 million barrels of gasoline supplies, much more than the 700 000 barrel decline that has been projected.

"Delays in the revival of supply from Libya" also put upward pressure on prices, Gupta said.

Investors remain cautious over a weekend deal between rebels in eastern Libya and the central government to resolve a nine-month oil blockade.

Under the deal reached Sunday, the rebels are to hand over this week two of the four terminals in the eastern they control and will cede the other two within two to four weeks, provided negotiations are successfully concluded.

The Libyan army said Wednesday it had taken control of the first two ports to be handed over by the rebels, Al-Hariga and Zueitina, enabling exports to resume as early as Sunday.

Tripoli says the blockade since July has cost Libya more than $14bn in lost revenues, slashing exports from 1.5 million to 250 000 bpd.



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