Singapore - Oil prices fell in Asia on Thursday as a larger than expected rise in US crude inventories eroded New York gains sparked by Fed forecasts of a pick-up in growth, analysts said.
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in June, fell six cents to $104.06 per barrel in the afternoon. Brent North Sea crude for June delivery shed nine cents to $119.03.
"Oil prices have edged down... primarily because the market is reacting to the oil inventory report from the US," said Victor Shum, senior principal of Purvin and Gertz energy consultants in Singapore.
"The inventory for crude rose four million barrels, the market expectation was only for 1.5 million barrels," he said.
Over the past four weeks, crude inventories have added 23 million barrels, pointing to slack energy demand in the world's biggest economy.
Crude had gained in New York after the Federal Reserve left its key interest rate near zero, saying growth would remain moderate over the coming quarters and then "pick up gradually".
"When they (Fed policymakers) say they are looking for growth to be gradually picking up, that gives you a better prospect for (oil) demand growth," said David Bouckhout at TD Securities.