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Oil prices trade near $42 in Asia

SINGAPORE: Oil prices traded near $42 in Asia Friday as US markets took a break for Thanksgiving and Russia ruled out a military strike against Turkey for shooting down one of its warplanes.

At around 0615 GMT, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery in January was 55 cents lower at $42.29 and Brent crude was down 15 cents at $45.31.

Before US markets went on holiday, the US Department of Energy released data showing the country’s commercial crude supplies in the week to November 20 rose at a slower pace, giving a bit of relief from a supply glut.

Reports that Russia is not taking military action against Turkey for the shooting down of one of its fighter jets on the Syrian border also eased fears that the tense situation in the region could escalate and disrupt oil supplies.

Moscow on Thursday said retaliatory measures will focus on using its leverage to tighten the screws on Turkey’s economy, including halting joint economic projects, restricting financial and trade transactions and changing customs duties.

With the global crude supplies still outpacing demand, traders are waiting for a meeting of the OPEC cartel of oil producing nations next month to see if it will slash high output levels.

Traders will also be monitoring a December meeting of the US central bank, where policymakers are expected to lift interest rates for the first time in almost a decade. A hike would likely boost the dollar, making dollar-priced oil more expensive, denting demand.

“Prices are finding it hard to move higher or lower on the unchanging fundamentals (of supply and demand),” Phillip Futures said in a market commentary.

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