SINGAPORE: Oil prices were mixed in Asian trade today, as investors weighed concerns over a supply disruption in the West Asia and a surge in US crude stockpiles, analysts said.
New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in April was up 25 cents to $105.68 while Brent North Sea crude for April delivery shed eight cents to $124.89 in morning trade.
“Crude prices have broadly stalled, albeit at relatively high levels,” said Sanjeev Gupta, head of the Asia-Pacific oil and gas practice at financial services firm Ernst & Young.
“Supply concerns are keeping prices elevated, but concerns are rising that high prices will undermine potential demand growth,” he said in a commentary.
Figures released yesterday by the US Department of Energy (DoE) showed crude stocks were at a nine-month high after rising by 2.5 million barrels last week. A rise in crude inventory is seen as a sign of weakening demand.
The DoE in the weekly report said total products supplied to the market over the past four weeks were down 5.4% from a year ago, with unseasonably warm weather continuing across much of the country.
Meanwhile, continued tensions between crude producer Iran and the West remain a key concern for traders, analysts said.
Iran yesterday condemned what it said was the use of oil as a political tool against producers, referring to Western sanctions over its controversial nuclear programme.
Tehran has repeatedly said its nuclear activities are exclusively peaceful.