SINGAPORE: World oil prices eased in Asian trade Wednesday as data showing weaker US energy demand prompted traders to sell, analysts said.
New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate light sweet crude for delivery in September, fell 25 cents to $93.18, and Brent North Sea crude for September dropped 34 cents to $113.69 in the morning.
“Oil was really overbought,” said Victor Shum, a Singapore-based analyst with Purvin and Gertz energy consultants, referring to a price rise overnight.
Data from the American Petroleum Institute showing an “unexpected” rise in crude oil inventories in the world's biggest economy gave traders a reason to sell, Shum told AFP.
A rise in inventories is a sign of softer energy demand.
“Oil futures are continuing to look for direction,” Shum said, adding that concerns over the violence in Syria unsettling the oil-producing Middle East region was likely to keep upward pressure on prices.
For Brent oil, which is traded in London, production disruptions due to scheduled maintenance in North Sea oilfields next month are expected to result in tighter supplies and higher prices, he said.
On the other hand, the eurozone debt crisis remains a concern for investors and although growth in key European countries came in above expectations, such expectations had been “low to start with,” Shum added.