US crude prices edge up in early Asian trade amid market gloom

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Tokyo | Updated: January 14, 2016 8:49:16 AM

US crude prices futures eked out gains for a second day in early Asian trade on Thursday, though the market remains vulnerable to gloom over a world awash with supply and concerns about economic growth hitting equity markets.

oil pricesA bearish report from the US Energy Information Administration on Tuesday underlined concerns that demand is stagnating as more supply comes to market. (Reuters photo)

US crude prices futures eked out gains for a second day in early Asian trade on Thursday, though the market remains vulnerable to gloom over a world awash with supply and concerns about economic growth hitting equity markets.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was up 16 cents at $30.64 a barrel at 0052 GMT. It settled at $30.48 on Wednesday, up 4 cents, after dropping as low as $30.10, the first gains in 2016.

WTI is down about 20 percent from a high on the first day of trading in 2016 and fell through the important $30 barrier on Tuesday before recouping some of the losses.

Brent crude was yet to trade. On Wednesday it was the global benchmark’s turn to fall below $30 a barrel, dropping to a new 12-year low at $29.96 a barrel, before settling at $30.31 a barrel, down 55 cents or 1.8 percent.

A bearish report from the US Energy Information Administration on Tuesday underlined concerns that demand is stagnating as more supply comes to market.

Data showing that crude inventories rose 234,000 barrels last week, much less than expectations, was overshadowed by reported builds of 8.4 million barrels in gasoline and over 6 million in distillates, which includes diesel and heating oil.

Concerns about the US economy also amplified the gloom and the Standard and Poors 500 index dipped below 1,900 for the first time since early October.

In Tokyo on Thursday, the Nikkei 225 was down about 600 points, more than 3 percent, after data showed core machinery orders fell 14.4 percent in November from the previous month.

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