Singapore: Oil prices were narrowly mixed in Asian trade on 13 July but remained volatile in a market awash with investor funds amid anticipation of further increases, dealers said.
Continued strong demand for gasoline (petrol) during the peak summer driving season in the US is also helping keep prices high, they said.
At 10:40am (08:10 IST), New York’s main oil futures contract, light sweet crude for August delivery, was 2 cents higher at $72.52 a barrel, from $72.50 in late US trades the previous day.
Brent North Sea crude for August eased 5 cents to $76.35, a day after briefly topping $77 to challenge previous record highs.
“The positive momentum ... over the last month has attracted a lot of investors into the market,” said Victor Shum, an analyst with energy consultancy Purvin and Gertz in Singapore.
“When you have a lot of investors and speculators in the market, it is bound to see a lot of volatility.”
Shum noted that previous record highs over the past two years had been set during the summer and following this trend, there was still room for prices to go higher before they could ease.
“It’s still early in the summer time,” he said.
The United States is the world’s biggest consumer of energy and its consumption patterns affect global oil prices.
Shum added that recent gains in Brent prices followed the closure of a number of North Sea oilfields for maintenance as well as a pipeline problem in the area. (AFP) NSD