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Oil prices down in Asian trade

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Oil prices edged lower in thin Asian trade Tuesday as concerns over a global supply glut persisted, with few fresh leads for dealers to track.

[SINGAPORE] Oil prices edged lower in thin Asian trade Tuesday as concerns over a global supply glut persisted, with few fresh leads for dealers to track.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for June delivery fell 12 cents to US$58.81 while Brent crude for June eased 18 cents to US$66.27 in afternoon trade.

"Oil prices are drifting with low volumes, indicating dealers across the Asia-Pacific region are sitting back with no major developments at the moment," Michael McCarthy, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney, told AFP.

Financial markets in Japan and South Korea are closed Tuesday for a public holiday.

McCarthy said dealers will next focus on the latest official US stockpiles report to be released Wednesday.

Oil prices rose last week after the US Department of Energy's inventory report showed a 500,000 barrel drop in petroleum stocks to 61.7 million barrels at the key Cushing, Oklahoma trading hub, the first such decline since late November.

Traders took the decline as a sign producers are cutting back at key US petroleum sites.

Oil prices rose by about a fifth in April owing to several factors, including concerns about unrest in Yemen, the weakening dollar and fewer US rigs in operation.

However, prices remain well down after plunging almost 60 percent between June and January on the back of a global supply glut and ramped up production.

Overall US crude inventories likely rose by 1.2 million barrels through May 1, according to a Bloomberg News survey.

AFP