Oil mixed in Asian trade

September 3, 2009

, SINGAPORE, Sep 3 – Oil was mixed in Asian trade on Thursday amid worries about the pace of the global economic recovery, analysts said.

New York\’s main contract, light sweet crude for October delivery was one cent higher at 68.06 dollars a barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for October delivery dropped 18 cents to 67.48 dollars a barrel.

Data released Wednesday by the US Department of Energy (DoE) showed crude stocks fell by 400,000 barrels in the week to August 28 which was largely in line with market expectations.

The DoE\’s weekly report said gasoline stockpiles fell by three million barrels, far steeper than expected but investor sentiment remained muted.

"The supply-demand picture is not that bullish at all," said Clarence Chu, a Singapore-based trader with Hudson Capital Energy.

Jason Schenker of Prestige Economics said supply and demand dynamics were "slightly more bearish right now" with the end of the US summer driving season.

"The gasoline numbers were very strong, but that was last month," he said. "But now the summer driving season is over."

The United States is the world\’s largest energy user and is seen as key to any recovery in oil demand.

The US economy contracted 1.0 percent in the second quarter, after steeper declines in the previous three quarters but most analysts expect the world\’s largest economy to post growth in the third quarter.

US Treasury chief Timothy Geithner said Wednesday the economy was seeing the first signs of growth after a long recession as new data showed the lowest payroll decline in a nearly a year.

"You have seen now the first signs of growth, positive growth, in this country and around the world," he said in a media briefing ahead of a meeting of the Group of 20 (G20) finance ministers and central bank governors in London at the weekend.

"We have come a very long way but I think we have to be realistic, we have a long way to go still," he cautioned.

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