Crude up in Asia

July 11, 2012
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Oil rigs extract petroleum in Culver City, California/AFP

, Singapore, Jul 11 – Crude rose in Asia Wednesday as bargain-hunting traders returned to the market following an overnight price slump sparked by the end of a Norwegian oil workers’ strike, analysts said.

New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for August delivery, gained 64 cents to $84.55 a barrel in the afternoon and Brent North Sea crude for delivery in August rose 50 cents to $98.47.

Crude, which had been oversold in late New York trade Tuesday, was returning to a more stable level, Justin Harper, market strategist for IG Markets Singapore, told AFP.

“It’s a slight sort of bounce back because it got hit quite hard overnight.” Crude prices had slid more than $2.00 on both the New York and London indices in late trade Tuesday on news that the Norwegian government had stepped in to end a 16-day strike in western Europe’s largest oil and gas producer.

After the strike ended, Norwegian oil fields said they were ramping up output to compensate for the supply disruption, with state-owned giant Statoil, the company most affected by the strike, saying it expected normal output levels by week’s end.

Looking ahead, Harper said weak demand from the United States and China — the world’s largest oil and gas consumers respectively — would place downside pressures on oil.

“If you’re looking at the demand side, there’s still grim outlooks for US and China… I’m not very bullish on oil at the moment,” he said.

The United States was hit by dreary jobs numbers Friday in yet another blow to its efforts to kickstart the economy, while data released Tuesday showed China crude imports plunging to their lowest levels since December.

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