Oil slips on US crude stocks data

2010-12-31 09:30

Singapore - Oil dropped in afternoon Asian trade on Friday after US data showed the country's crude stocks declined less than expected, analysts said.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for February delivery, dropped 34 cents to $89.50 per barrel in the afternoon.

Brent North Sea crude for February was down 19 cents at $92.90.

"The slight drop in crude price... is likely due to US weekly data indicating lower-than-expected crude oil inventories drawdown," said Chen Xin Yi, a Singapore-based commodities analyst for Barclays Capital.

Figures released Thursday by the US Department of Energy showed crude stock piles had fallen by much less than expected, even given the cold weather in much of the United States.

Crude stocks fell by 1.3 million barrels, much lower than the nearly three million barrel drop that market analysts were predicting.

The United States is the world's biggest oil consuming nation and the weekly stocks report is widely monitored by the market.

Crude prices this week have been boosted by the extreme cold weather and blizzards across the northern hemisphere, with households using more heating oil.