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Oil prices down in Asian trade

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Singapore, Sep 25 (AFP) Oil prices edged lower in Asia today but losses were capped following a surprise drawdown in US stockpiles and as dealers await fresh economic data out of Washington, analysts said.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for November delivery fell two cents to USD 92.78 while Brent crude for November eased ten cents to USD 96.85 in mid-morning trade.

Sanjeev Gupta, head of the Asia-Pacific oil and gas practice at business consultancy EY, said “a higher-than- forecast” drawdown of US crude reserves boosted demand hopes in the US and were supporting oil prices.

The Department of Energy (DOE) said yesterday US crude reserves fell 4.3 million barrels in the week ending September 19, upending a 500,000-barrel increase projected by analysts in a Dow Jones Newswires survey.

The DOE report also showed gasoline stockpiles decreased 414,000 barrels, more than double the decline forecast.

A drop in US stockpiles typically indicates strong demand in the world’s biggest economy and top crude producer, supporting global prices.

Gupta said “economic data from the US on durable goods and final second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) numbers will set the tone for prices” today and tomorrow.

Singapore’s United Overseas Bank said in a commentary that the US Commerce Department will likely report later Thursday durable goods contracted 18 percent in August, after a 22.6 percent increase in July due to aircraft orders.

The third estimate of US GDP for the second quarter will be released by the Commerce Department on Friday. UOB said the figure will be revised upwards to 4.6 per cent from the previous estimate of 4.2 per cent. (AFP)

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