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Oil prices edge lower in Asian trade

SINGAPORE: Oil prices edged lower in Asia Monday as a rally late last week fizzled out owing to lingering concerns about weak demand and a global supply glut, analysts said.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in February eased three cents to $48.66 in late-morning trade and Brent crude for March fell 41 cents to $49.76.

Prices rebounded Friday after the International Energy Agency said there were signs “the tide will turn” in the battered market following recent falls to near six-year lows.

However, Phillip Futures said in a market commentary: “Although it may seem like prices are reversing already, fundamentals have not changed.

“Oversupply and weak demand is still prevalent in the market and thus, would not expect prices to rally just yet.”

Phillip Futures expects range-bound trading to continue “until fundamentals change for the better”.

Oil prices have lost more than half their value since June when they sat at more than $100 a barrel.

The fall was exacerbated at the end of November when the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said it would maintain output levels, despite the already low price and ample supplies.

Phillip Futures investment analyst Daniel Ang told AFP investors are looking at another OPEC meeting in June to see whether the cartel will lower output.

“The OPEC meeting in June could be turning point in addressing global oversupply,” he said.

“It is probable that the market will hit near and around the $40 mark before an upturn.” (AFP)

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