Crude prices were lower in Asian trade today as a rise in US stockpiles with strong dollar putting pressure on prices.

New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in June, shed 24 cents to $96.15 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for June delivery was down 20 cents at $104.27.

“The main downside factor on prices right now is the huge oversupply in the United States,” Kelly Teoh, market strategist at IG Markets in Singapore, said.

Crude stockpiles

The US Government’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) had earlier this week said that American crude stocks rose to 395.5 million barrels in the week ending May 3, the highest level since 1982.

The build-up in US supplies indicates that the production is outstripping demand, putting downward pressure on prices.

US inventories are a vital focus for traders because the US is the world’s biggest economy and its largest oil-consuming nation.

An overnight surge in the US dollar past the 100 yen mark was also weighing on oil prices, analysts said.

The greenback added to its gains in mid-morning Asian trade today, changing hands at ¥100.91 against ¥100.55 in New York on Thursday afternoon.

A stronger dollar tends to curb the demand for dollar-priced crude oil from buyers wielding weaker currencies.

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