Singapore: Crude oil prices were firmer in Asian trade on 22 August, on bargain hunting after overnight falls on easing concerns as vital US energy facilities were spared from Hurricane Dean’s fury, dealers said.
At 11:00am (0300 GMT), New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for October delivery rose 29 cents to $69.86 from $69.57 in late US trades the previous day.
Brent North Sea crude for October delivery gained 17 cents to $68.86.
“It’s a small bounce and I think some market participants might view this as a buying opportunity,” said Victor Shum, an analyst with energy consultancy Purvin and Gertz consultancy.
Further sharp falls in the coming weeks were however unlikely as the six-month Atlantic hurricane season that started in June usually peaks from September onwards, dealers said.
“There is a good chance that crude oil futures won’t fall a lot further even though it crashed through the psychological barrier of $70,” said Shum.
Hurricane Dean swirled over the oil-rich Gulf of Mexico on 21 August where it could regain some of the punch it lost after slamming onto Mexico’s Caribbean coast as a monstrous category five storm.
Despite the rare intensity the storm lost much of its punch when it hit land before dawn on 21 August, there were no immediate reports of casualties or major damage in Mexico.
The International Energy Agency said it was slightly concerned about Dean’s impact on Mexican oil production — but believed its passage won’t affect global oil markets.