Crude oil prices see mixed fortunes

02 February 2012, Sweetcrude, LONDON – Crude oil prices traded mixed on the international market, Thursday, as traders balanced ongoing Iranian tensions with stubborn concerns over the outlook for global energy demand.

While New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for delivery in March, fell 35 cents to $97.26 a barrel, Brent North Sea crude for March delivery rose 43 cents to $111.99 a barrel in London morning deals.

Andrey Kryuchenkov, VTB Capital analyst, said: “Crude futures were mixed over the past week as geopolitics were still underpinning Brent, while WTI remained under pressure from persistent demand concerns.”

The oil market slid Wednesday as new US government data showed a slower pace of petroleum consumption.
Encouraging economic data especially from China, where manufacturing activity expanded in January, helped the oil price early on Wednesday.

Traders were also inspired by similar pick ups in the manufacturing sectors of the United States and the eurozone.

However, weekly American oil data showed slower refinery throughput and mounting crude stocks, raising concerns about demand.

US lawmakers on Tuesday also unveiled proposals for fresh sanctions on Tehran as talks between Iranian officials and a delegation from the International Atomic Energy Agency wrapped up with no sign of any breakthrough over the Arab nation’s nuclear programme.

And across in Europe, while an agreement on stricter controls to maintain balanced budgets was welcomed, continued wrangling over a Greek debt writedown by its creditors means the that country’s debt crisis remains unresolved.

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