Singapore: Oil prices were lower in Asian trade Tuesday, 21 August, as US energy facilities looked set to escape the fury of Hurricane Dean, dealers said.
At 10:30am (0230 GMT), New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for September delivery fell 32 cents to $70.80 a barrel from $71.12 in late US trades Monday.
Brent North Sea crude for October delivery dropped 35 cents to $69.50 a barrel.
“The market is definitely focused on Hurricane Dean... Hurricane Dean is expected to reach category five today, but is unlikely to reach US oil platforms,” said Societe Generale’s commodities research team.
The Miami-based US National Weather Center said Hurricane Dean is “a potentially catastrophic category five hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale.
Dean is likely to slam Mexico’s Carribbean coast early Tuesday and a US Navy reserve hurricane hunter plane that flew into the weather system late Monday recorded maximum sustained winds of 256 kilometers (160 miles) an hour, with higher gusts.
Apart from tracking Hurricane Dean’s movement, the market is also waiting for the release of the US Department of Energy’s (DoE) weekly petroleum stocks report, dealers said.
Societe Generale is expecting a drawdown of 5.9 million barrels in crude reserves when the DoE report is released Wednesday.