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Brent crude remained steady today, as a result of a fall in trade due to Lunar New Year holiday celebrations in Asia, as well as over upcoming weekly data on US oil stocks.

Brent crude rose by nine cents to $118.22 a barrel, while US crude dropped by 12 cents to $96.91 a barrel, reported Reuters.

On Tuesday, China and Singapore remained on holiday, while other investors in the region showed an unwilling approach to take any big positions.

Furthermore, markets displayed modest reaction to the news that North Korea had conducted a nuclear test.

South Korea’s defence ministry said that North Korea conducted a nuclear test, after the US Geological Survey registered seismic activity measuring 4.9 in magnitude.

Meanwhile, political developments in the eurozone are expected to put pressure on global oil demands.

The oil market will keep a close eye on a meeting of finance ministers from the group of 20 nations, scheduled to take place in Moscow on Friday and Saturday.

Oil markets will also wait for weekly inventory data in the US, where commercial crude oil stockpiles are anticipated to have increased by 2.9 million barrels last week.

"Markets displayed modest reaction to the news that North Korea had conducted a nuclear test."

Distillate stocks, which include heating oil and diesel fuel, were expected to be down by 800,000 barrels on average, while gasoline inventories remained unchanged.

The American Petroleum Institute released its weekly report, while the US Government’s Energy Information Administration will be releasing its data on Wednesday.

Prices were also influenced by Iran’s announcement that its uranium enrichment programme has been designed only for peaceful energy purposes.


Image: China and Singapore are among the nations in Asia that remained on holiday. Photo courtesy of Lars Christopher Nøttaasen.

Energy