Oil prices edge higher as year draws to a close
Oil prices inched higher in holiday-reduced Asian trade Tuesday, but gains were capped as investors booked profits before the end of the year.
New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for February delivery, added five cents to $99.34 in afternoon trade while Brent North Sea crude for February rose 13 cents to $111.34.
WTI fell $1.03 in New York on profit-taking Monday after it closed above the psychologically important $100 level on Friday, buoyed by upbeat sentiment about US demand. Brent closed 97 cents lower in London trade.
Financial markets in Tokyo, Manila, Seoul, Bangkok and Jakarta were closed for public holidays.
Tan Chee Tat, investment analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore, said investors "were prompted to engage in profit-taking in the year-end when the market is not so active".
Oil prices were also under pressure following comments from the Libyan national oil company that some operations in the country had resumed.
Output from the North African state has been hit by a months-long blockade of key export terminals by armed protestors.
Investors remain concerned over the escalating violence in fledgling oil producer South Sudan, as the United Nations on Monday said an armed conflict was escalating.
More than 1,000 people have died since fighting between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and former vice president Riek Machar broke out on December 15.
Analysts say the country usually exports about 220,000 barrels of crude oil a day to Japan, Malaysia and China.