Oil prices down ahead of US energy data
Oil prices fell in Asian hours Tuesday as traders await fresh stockpiles data, while keeping an eye on the release of US Federal Reserve minutes from its July meeting.
New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in October, was down 51 cents at $104.60 and Brent North Sea crude for October slipped 65 cents to $109.50 in afternoon trade.
The weekly report on US commercial energy stockpiles by the US Energy Information Administration is due later Wednesday and will provide an indication about the state of the world's number one economy.
The group last week said crude stockpiles shrank to 360.5 million barrels in the week to August 9, the lowest since January.
"WTI prices are looking to the US energy numbers, guidance from the Federal Open Market Committee minutes, as well as news from Jackson Hole in the coming weeks," David Lennox, resource analyst at Fat Prophets in Sydney, told AFP.
Central bankers from around the world are set to gather for their annual get-together in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, this week.
Factors driving the fall in Brent were less clear, especially given recent indications of tightness in the market as well as the lack of fresh economic data. "While news out of Europe has been optimistic, this might not have had an impact on demand yet," said Lennox.
Data last week showed that the eurozone exited its record 18-month recession in the second quarter with 0.3-percent growth.
Eyes are also on Washington, where minutes from the Fed's July policy meeting will be pored over for clues about the future of its vast stimulus programme, which has acted as a support for the economy.