SINGAPORE: Oil prices were mixed in Asian trade Tuesday as investors weighed easing concerns over a supply disruption in the Middle East and signs of growing US consumer demand.
New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for delivery in May was up three cents to $102.96 per barrel while Brent North Sea crude for June shed 38 cents to $118.30 in morning trade.
"Investors are seeing the Iran talks over the weekend as fairly positive and that is putting downside pressure on Brent crude currently," said Nick Trevethan, senior commodities strategist at ANZ Research.
WTI was supported by stronger-than-expected retail sales data in the United States, he added.
US Commerce Department data released on Monday showed a 0.8 percent expansion in overall retail and food service sales in March, pointing towards rising demand in the world's largest economy.
Despite a month-to-month slowdown compared to February, the pace of growth was solid and marked a 6.5 percent increase from March 2011.
The earlier start date of the Seaway pipeline reversal that will ease a supply glut at Cushing, Oklahoma - the delivery point for US crude - was also supporting prices, Trevethan said. (AFP)