Connect to share and comment

Oil prices slip in Asian trade


Oil prices were down in Asian trade on Wednesday as traders took a breather after strong economic data from the United States pushed prices to a five-week high, analysts said.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in May, dropped 27 cents to $96.07 a barrel in the afternoon and Brent North Sea crude for May delivery shed 17 cents to $109.19.

"Oil is holding firm with quiet trading," Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney, told AFP.

"Traders are happy to leave prices where they are and wait for further news."

Prices rallied on Tuesday as data showed US home prices crept higher in January and new orders for durable goods surged 5.7 percent in February, driven by a sharp rise in civilian aircraft sales.

Positive US economic numbers continue "to be a white knight within the unpredictable global economy", IG Markets Singapore said in a report.

"No region is more volatile than the eurozone, and it has done its best to dent confidence in an economic recovery this year," it added.

Worries over the eurozone continue to weigh on confidence after Cyprus warned that "superhuman" efforts were needed to reopen its banks by Thursday.

The island this week averted a collapse of its banking system after reaching an 11th-hour financial bailout with its creditors.