| GEO Business|
Oil down in Asian trade
| Updated at: 0932 PST, Thursday, August 19, 2010|
SINGAPORE: Oil prices were lower in early Asian trade Thursday as US crude stockpiles remained at record levels, indicating weak energy demand in the world's biggest economy.
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in September, fell nine cents to 75.33 dollars a barrel.
Brent North Sea crude for October delivery slipped six cents to 76.41 dollars.
A lower-than-expected fall in US crude reserves was dampening market sentiment, said Ong Yi Ling, an investment analyst for Phillip Capital in Singapore.
"On the whole, we're still looking at record high inventories which could exert downward pressure on crude," she said.
Data released by the US Department of Energy on Wednesday showed American crude reserves declining by 800,000 barrels in the week ending August 13, lower than market forecasts.
Gasoline inventories were also flat last week, while analysts had predicted a drop of 500,000 barrels, the report stated.
The weekly US report is closely watched by the oil market because the country is the world's biggest energy consumer, with China and Japan in second and third places respectively.