Singapore: Oil prices edged lower in Asian trade on 22 June as players assessed whether a strike in key African crude oil producer Nigeria would affect supplies, dealers said.
At 08:35 IST, New York’s main oil futures contract, light sweet crude for delivery in August, was down eight cents at $68.57 a barrel from $68.65 in late US trades.
Brent North Sea crude for August was down one cent at $70.21.
“The oil markets were keeping a watchful eye on Nigeria, to attempt to assess what, if any, impact the general strike will have on supplies,” the Commonwealth Bank of Australia said in a commentary. “Markets appear to believe the strike will not have a significant impact on oil supplies.”
Nigerian police on 21 June used tear gas on strikers manning a barricade in Lagos as labour unions threatened to toughen their stance and bring the country to a complete standstill for a third day on 22 June.
The Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress started the strike on 20 June after the Nigerian government refused to reverse a hike in fuel prices at the pump.
With crude production and exports unaffected so far, unions called on their members to set up “compliance squads” to ensure the strike achieved its aim of paralysing the economy.
The market has found some support from a report that US gasoline (petrol) stockpiles rose last week which is good news during the summer driving season in the world’s biggest energy consumer.