Oil prices edge up on world markets

Oil prices edge up on world markets
# 18 April 2009 09:07 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA-Economics. World oil prices edged higher Friday as upbeat US corporate earnings helped ease fears about sinking demand in a weak global economy.
New York’s main futures contract, light sweet crude for delivery in May, climbed 35 cents to close at 50.33 dollars a barrel.
London’s Brent North Sea crude for June delivery settled at 53.35 dollars, a gain of 29 cents from Thursday’s close.
The market rallied slightly after US companies Citigroup, General Electric and Google reported profits that topped market forecasts.
The oil market recently has moved in tandem with the stock market, seen by investors as a bellwether on recession recovery prospects and thus on future oil demand.
Traders welcomed an unexpectedly strong uptick in the University of Michigan’s monthly consumer confidence index, the second consecutive gain.
Ellis Eckland, an independent analyst, noted that oil prices have trended higher from a weak start to the week.
But the market remained under pressure from high oil inventories in the United States.
In that context, the New York contract was trading nearly three dollars below Brent, which is less refined and typically cheaper.
"Fundamentally we have a demand problem in the world, including the United States," BMO Capital Markets analyst Bart Melek said.
"This overhang of supply is going to be with us for some time."
The market took a knock this week after news that US crude oil stockpiles had reached an 18-year peak, suggesting that demand was tailing off in the world’s biggest energy consuming nation.
"Demand is poor and inventories have built to ample or even onerous levels," said analyst Peter Beutel at US-based energy consultancy Cameron Hanover.
The US Department of Energy (DoE) said on Wednesday that crude stocks surged 5.6 million barrels in the week ending April 10 to reach 366.7 million barrels, which was the highest level since September 1990.
Crude inventories are now 16.5 percent higher than at the same stage last year. Source: AFP
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