Oil prices steady near $94 a barrel

Oil prices steady near $94 a barrel

Singapore: Oil prices held steady Thursday after advancing nearly $3 overnight and while traders awaited the release of US petroleum supply data later in the day.

Prices were supported by expectations that US oil inventories fell last week, but many traders were waiting on the sidelines as “it’s too risky to sell crude before the data comes out", Koichi Murakami, a broker at Daiichi Shohin, told Dow Jones Newswires.

Light, sweet crude for December delivery lost 11 cents to $93.98 a barrel in Asian electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, midmorning in Singapore.

The contract rose $2.92 to settle at $94.09 a barrel Wednesday.

Prices rose after Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Secretary General Abdalla Salem el-Badri said there is no need for OPEC to add more oil to the market, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

Oil prices fell earlier this week in part due to comments from Saudi Arabia’s oil minister suggesting that the cartel will discuss raising production at a meeting next month.

Meanwhile, the US dollar slipped Wednesday, driving investors back to crude futures. Oil futures offer a hedge against a weak dollar, and oil futures bought and sold in dollars are more attractive to foreign investors when the US currency is falling.

The Energy Information Administration’s weekly inventory report to be released later Thursday is expected to show crude oil supplies fell by 300,000 barrels, according to the average estimate of analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires.