Singapore: Oil prices were slightly higher in Asian trade Thursday, 27 December, ahead of the release of a closely-watched weekly US report on the country’s energy reserves, dealers said.
In afternoon trade, New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for February delivery, was eight cents higher at $96.05 a barrel after spiking $1.84 in US trades Wednesday.
Brent North Sea crude for February delivery was 13 cents higher at $94.07.
“The market is very quiet this morning,” said David Moore, a Sydney-based commodity strategist with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
The release later Thursday of the Department of Energy’s (DoE) report on stockpiles will provide a gauge on demand in the world’s biggest oil user, where supply concerns have been a longstanding concern, dealers said.
Last week’s update from the DoE revealed that US crude oil stocks had fallen below their five-year average for the first time in more than three years, heightening supply concerns.
Prices had surged after Turkey launched air raids Wednesday against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq, which again raised worries about the geopolitical situation in the oil-rich Middle East, dealers said.
Turkey’s air raids were the third against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) targets in northern Iraq that the military has confirmed since December 16, in addition to a cross-border ground operation.
“Further Turkish military efforts against the PKK rebels keeps the geopolitical pot boiling in that oil flows from Iraq could potentially be disrupted,” Mike Fitzpatrick, a market trader at Man Financial, said during US trading hours.