Oil prices fell in Asian trade today on rising US crude stockpiles as traders lamented the lack of fresh stimulus measures from the Federal Reserve, analysts said.

New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for August delivery, shed 89 cents to $80.56 a barrel on its first trading day and Brent North Sea crude for delivery in August retreated 58 cents to $92.11.

“Lack of fresh Fed stimulus, downgrade to the US outlook and an unexpected rise in US inventories took their toll on the price,” IG Markets said in a report.

Bond-swap programme

The Fed had yesterday announced that it was extending a bond-swap programme.

The plan is designed to push down the interest rates on long-term bonds, encouraging investors to move money into more neglected securities and lowering the costs for borrowers.

But traders were disappointed that the bank was not releasing a third round of bond purchases or quantitative easing to boost growth in the world’s largest oil consumer.

The Fed’s prediction that US unemployment would remain above eight per cent for at least the remainder of this year also contributed to the gloom.

Crude prices were also pressured by “data show(ing) US crude inventories unexpectedly swelled,” Phillip Futures said in a report.

Official data released yesterday had showed US crude stockpiles rising by 2.86 million barrels last week against analyst forecasts of a 1.1 million barrel decline.

(This article was published on June 21, 2012)
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