Oil prices diverge

18th February 2013, Comments 0 comments

Oil prices traded narrowly mixed on Monday in quiet trading as dealers mulled the outcome of a G20 weekend meeting amid a public holiday in the United States.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in April added 12 cents to $117.78 a barrel in London midday deals.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for March, fell 26 cents to $95.60 a barrel.

"Crude oil prices started the week on a consolidation mode," said Myrto Sokou, analyst at Sucden brokerage.

"With New York markets closed today, we expect thin trading conditions with low volumes across the oil market. In addition, due to the absence of major macroeconomic data today, currency movements could provide some direction to the oil market."

G20 finance ministers tried on Saturday to calm concerns of looming "economic warfare" on the currency markets, pledging they would not target specific forex rates or devalue currencies to make them more competitive.

The jitters -- similar to previous disputes with China -- have been set off by Japan's plan of monetary easing to boost inflation and activity by reducing the value of the yen under new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

"We will refrain from competitive devaluation. We will not target our exchange rates for competitive purposes," said the communique after the G20 finance meeting in Moscow under Russia's presidency.

It echoed a similar recent statement by the G7 richest nations which like the G20 statement was also approved by Japan, whose monetary policy has been vehemently criticised by the West in recent weeks.

© 2013 AFP

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