, SINGAPORE, May 16 – Oil was down in Asian trade Thursday as caution returned to the market following weak US production data, analysts said.
New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in June, dropped 33 cents to $93.97 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for June delivery shed 16 cents to $103.52.
“Disappointing industrial production figures raised concerns that the US economy is not doing as well as other data have been suggesting,” Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney, told AFP.
“Traders are taking a cautious approach. They are waiting for the release of more data like housing stats and job claims, which also have an influence on oil demand.”
US industrial production fell 0.5 percent in April, amid a decline in heating oil demand as temperatures returned to normal ranges after an unusually cold March, the Federal Reserve reported Wednesday.
The decline was sharper than the 0.2 drop expected by analysts, and followed two straight months of higher output, with March production up a revised 0.3 percent.
Both New York and Brent prices had closed higher on Wednesday after a US Energy Information Administration weekly report showed a surprise fall in crude oil supplies, indicating improving demand.
Stockpiles nevertheless remained high at 394.9 million barrels, and worries of soft global demand against a rising supply continued to cast a shadow over the markets.