Singapore: Oil prices were higher in Asian trade today after a larger-than-expected drop in US crude oil inventories, dealers said.
In morning trade, New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for February delivery, was up 12 cents at $91.36 per barrel from $91.24 per barrel in late US trades yesterday. The January contract expired Tuesday at $90.49.
In London, Brent North Sea crude for February rose six cents to $91.54 per barrel. The contract settled $1.36 higher at $91.48 per barrel yesterday.
Oil prices rose after the weekly US Department of Energy (DoE) report showed stockpiles of US crude fell by 7.6 million barrels in the week ended 14 December, against analysts’ forecast of a drop of only 1.5 million barrels.
“The report was bullish for oil prices... There was reaction last night to the inventories report. So far, the market has been adjusting,” said David Moore, commodities strategist at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
Traders are also concerned over the level of heating fuel stockpiles as colder winter weather has hit the US in recent weeks.
The DoE also reported a build in gasoline stocks of 3 million barrels, while distillates, which include heating fuel, fell by 2.1 million barrels.
Moore added that trading would be “quiet” and held within a range of 25 cents today.
“Prices will be held within the ranges we saw last night. There’s nothing new to cause the prices to move outside the range. I think things quiet down this time of the year,” he said.