Oil prices mixed in Asian trade

Oil prices were mixed in Asia on Wednesday after the OPEC cartel projected an increase in crude production, analysts said.

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) light sweet crude for delivery in April gained 15 cents to $92.69 a barrel in the afternoon while Brent North Sea crude for April delivery dropped 28 cents to $109.37.

Prices had been up in early trade on general confidence in global equity markets, despite the broad losses on Wednesday in Asian bourses.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries on Tuesday stood pat on its 2013 crude demand forecast, but raised its expectation of production growth by non-OPEC suppliers by 11 percent to 1.0 million barrels a day.

It expects the growth by non-OPEC suppliers to come mainly from North America.

"While supply is moving forward, demand is staying at where it is. This puts a negative premium on oil futures," said Jason Hughes, head of premium client management at IG Markets Singapore.

The cartel, which accounts for around 35 percent of world supply, expects a global demand of 89.7 million barrels per day in 2013, up 0.8 million from 2012.

The US Energy Information Agency in its short-term energy outlook Tuesday lowered its forecast for the average WTI and Brent prices this year.

It projected the Brent price would fall to an average $108 a barrel this year from $112 last year. WTI prices are forecast to fall slightly this year, but would stick around $92 a barrel through 2014, it said.