Singapore: Oil prices eased in Asian trade on 20 June, ahead of the weekly US energy inventory report, shrugging off concerns of possible supply disruption from a labour union strike in Nigeria, dealers said.
Nigeria’s National Labour Congress said it will proceed with the strike called on 20 June after the government refused to reverse a hike in the price of petrol.
At 0945 Indian Standard Time, New York’s main oil futures contract, light sweet crude for delivery in July, fell 18 cents to $68.92 a barrel from $69.10 in late US trades.
Brent North Sea crude for August delivery was down eight cents at USD 71.76.
“On 19 June, the market reacted at news of possible oil production shut-downs (in Nigeria),” said Steve Rowles, an analyst with CFC Seymour Securities in Hong Kong.
“Prices should come off a bit today (20 June),” he said, adding traders are mainly focused on the US energy inventories numbers to be released later on 20 June.
“We are looking at more of overall US demand and whether there will be enough gasoline stockpiles for the driving season. I think after last week’s surprising gasoline numbers hitting below average, the refinery output should increase this week.”
Tight US gasoline (petrol) reserves during the current summer driving season, when many Americans take to the roads for their vacations, have stoked oil prices.
The US is the world’s biggest energy consumer.
Analysts are expecting a decline of 0.5 million barrels in US crude oil stockpiles, with a modest gain of 1.19 million barrels in gasoline.