Business: Oil prices down in Asian trade

petrolium prices decreases

SINGAPORE: Oil prices fell in Asian trade Thursday on signs of weaker US energy demand and as positions hardened in a fiscal showdown in Washington that could push the world’s biggest economy back into recession.

New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in February shed 17 cents to $94.07 a barrel after the contract rose to its highest levels since September on data showing strong US demand.

A report by the US Energy Administration on Wednesday said oil stockpiles dropped by one million barrels in the week to January 11. Analysts had forecast a build of 2.1 million barrels.

Brent North Sea crude for March delivery was down 94 cents to $109.67 in volatile trading that saw prices see-sawing. The February contract expired on Wednesday.

Analysts said oil prices were supported by rising geopolitical concerns after gunmen killed two people and took 41 Western hostages Wednesday in an attack on an Algerian gas field.

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