Oil prices steady around 76 dollars

16th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

Oil prices were steady around 76 dollars on Friday at the end of a volatile week which saw dealers trying to get a fix on the energy demand outlook amid mixed data.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in August, rose nine cents to 76.73 dollars a barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for September was unchanged at 76.09 dollars in midday London trade.

"Some economic data in the United States are signalling slower economic growth and that has put a lid on any price rally," said Victor Shum, an analyst with energy consultancy Purvin and Gertz.

He said oil was likely to trade between 70 and 80 dollars for some time.

"There is really no big driver to cause oil to break out of this range," Shum added.

Doubts about the strength of the US recovery were fuelled by reports Thursday that manufacturing activity in the state of New York and in the Philadelphia region was weaker than expected.

The strength of the economic rebound in the United States is being closely watched by investors because it consumes more energy than any other country in the world.

Oil prices fell Thursday after indicators signalled slowing growth in both the United States and China, the world's top energy consuming nations.

Sentiment had been dampened late Wednesday after the Federal Reserve said US growth figures were trimmed at a June meeting of its policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC).

Meeting minutes showed that board members cut their growth forecast to 3.0-3.5 percent this year from the 3.2-3.7 predicted just months ago, and that the Fed was weighing new measures to keep the faltering US recovery on track.

Meanwhile, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which pumps 40 percent of the world's crude, this week forecast a 1.2-percent increase in global oil demand growth in 2011.

In its latest monthly report, OPEC held its forecast for world oil demand growth for 2010 steady at 1.1 percent, or an extra 0.95 million barrels per day (bpd).


© 2010 AFP

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