Oil prices see-saw in Asian trade

2011-10-12 09:35

Singapore - Crude prices were mixed in Asian trade on Wednesday after OPEC lowered its global oil demand forecast for 2012 and Slovakia rejected a plan to revamp the eurozone's rescue fund, analysts said.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in November, was down 20 cents to $85.61 a barrel in afternoon trade, shrinking earlier losses.

Brent North Sea crude for November delivery was up 17c to $110.90.

Analysts said they noticed some bargain-hunting later in the day, but stressed that the weak global economy remains a dampener for oil prices because of projections for lower demand.

"Opec (Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) adjusted its demand outlook for 2012 downward," said Victor Shum, senior principal of Purvin and Gertz energy consultants in Singapore.

Opec on Tuesday lowered its estimated world demand for a third month running to 87.81 million barrels per day, down from a September forecast of 87.99 million bpd.

The reduction was due to uncertainty in the global economy and weaker oil demand from China and India, the oil cartel said.

Meanwhile, Slovak lawmakers' rejection of a revamp of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) bailout dealt a further blow to market sentiment amid the eurozone debt crisis.

The vote effectively blocks the expansion of the eurozone's €440bn bailout fund even as European Central Bank chief Jean Claude Trichet warned that the world financial system faced systemic dangers.

Slovakia's leaders have said they would try to pass the EFSF revamp in a repeat ballot with opposition support, but no date has yet been fixed for that vote.

Slovakia is the last of the 17 eurozone members to approve the revamp.