Oil prices hold steady on lower US supplies


SINGAPORE (AFP) – Oil prices held steady in Asian trading on Friday after a fall in US crude inventories offset OPEC s decision to shun production caps.

The commodity initially fell on Thursday after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries ended its meeting in Vienna with no agreement, as expected, to lower or cap output despite a global supply glut.

However, it rebounded after a US Department of Energy report showed commercial crude inventories sank by 1.4 million barrels last week, indicating a pick-up in demand in the world s top crude consumer.

At about 0230 GMT, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery in July was two cents up at $49.19 a barrel while Brent for August was four cents higher at $50.08.

A final statement from OPEC said that since its December meeting “crude oil prices have risen by more than 80 percent, supply and demand is converging and oil and producer stock levels in the OECD (industrial economies) have recently shown moderation”.

It added: “This is testament to the fact that the market is moving through the balancing process.”



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