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Oil prices mixed in Asian trade

04 November 2013, 07:16AFP

Singapore - Oil prices were mixed in Asia Monday as dealers await US economic data this week that could provide an indication of when the Federal Reserve will start winding down its stimulus programme.

New York's main contract West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for December delivery eased six cents to $94.55 a barrel in afternoon trade, while Brent North Sea crude for December climbed 29 cents to $106.20.

"Investors will be looking at US economic data this week, especially the jobs data, for an indication of whether tapering will be brought forward to December," Desmond Chua, market analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore, told AFP.

A better-than-expected summary of the US economy by the Federal Reserve last week has fuelled speculation that it will soon begin reeling in its bond-buying by the end of the year.

Investors will next focus on US third-quarter gross domestic product advanced estimates to be released Thursday, as well as official October payrolls data out on Friday.

The oil market has been closely following the Fed's debate on when to scale back its $85 billion-a-month stimulus.

The onset of tapering will boost the greenback, making dollar-priced oil more expensive for countries using other currencies.

Investors are also eyeing Libyan oil production, after an announcement by its National Oil Corp. that the Al-Harriga terminal will resume operations on Monday at the latest.

The terminal, which has a capacity of 110,000 barrels a day, has been closed along with several other terminals by protesters demanding jobs and a more equitable distribution of oil revenues.

Libyan crude production has been disrupted for several months by the labour unrest, and output slashed to as little as 300,000 barrels per day from 1.5 million-1.6 million before the showdown began.


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