New Year

Oil prices slipped today, because of a fall in trade activity in Asia on account of the Chinese New Year.

Brent crude dropped by ten cents to $118.80 per barrel, while US crude fell by 11 cents to $95.61 per barrel, reported Reuters.

Trade is expected to be lethargic this week, as most of the Asian markets will remain closed to celebrate Chinese New Year.

According to analysts, traders will keep a close watch on US retail sales and industrial production data, which is expected to be released this week, to get further signs of economic revival in the world’s largest economy.

The oil market is expected to get a boost from a strong blizzard, ‘Nemo’, which hit the US north-east and covered everything exposed with hurricane force winds and up to 40 inches (one metre) of snow, leaving thousands of people without power.

"Trade is expected to be lethargic this week, as most of the Asian markets will remain closed to celebrate Chinese New Year."

On Monday, the new terms of delivery for North Sea crude cargoes will be put into practice, which are expected to set the basis of oil trade in the global market.

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By GlobalData

The new terms have been laid out after Royal Dutch Shell one-sidedly amended the terms for cargoes with a May 2013 or later delivery, saying it was intended to support trading liquidity.

In the Middle East, Iran’s move to convert a small quantity of its higher-grade enriched uranium into reactor fuel, will give some more time to both Washington and Tehran to discuss Iran’s controversial nuclear programme.

Iran said that if the country is attacked, it will block oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz, which is traversed by around 40% of the world’s globally traded oil.

Image: Chinese New Year celebrations. Photo courtesy of Joe Mabel.