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Oil up ahead of Fed chief's testimony

21 May 2013, 07:28AFP

Singapore - Oil was up in Asian trade on Tuesday ahead of a testimony in Congress by Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke on the US economy.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in June, added 16 cents to $96.87 a barrel in the afternoon and Brent North Sea crude for July delivery increased 25 cents to $105.05.

Bernanke will appear on Wednesday before Congress' Joint Economic Committee to give an update on the latest outlook for the world's biggest economy and largest oil consuming nation.

Global markets will also closely watch his statements for an indication on when the Fed, the US central bank, will start winding down its massive bond-buying programme to boost the economy.

Other analysts said ample global supplies for crude were keeping a lid on any price increase.

"Crude bulls tried to push prices higher, but high stocks of the fuel tapered gains," Phillip Futures said in a market commentary.

Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney said that dealers were waiting for the latest energy inventory report due Wednesday from the United States, where stockpiles have outpaced demand.

"Nothing has really changed in the global picture of demand," McCarthy said.

Oil prices had surged last week after a better-than-expected reading on US consumer confidence boosted hopes for stronger energy demand.


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