Oil prices down ahead of US energy report

SINGAPORE (TIP): Oil prices eased in Asia on September 10 as dealers focused on an upcoming US energy report for clues about production and demand in the world’s top crude consumer amid abundant global supplies.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for October delivery fell 65 cents to US $43.50 while Brent crude for October dropped 76 cents to US $46.82 in late-morning trade.

“We have seen US production levels slowing in recent weeks, and those figures will next be in focus for investors seeking answers on the oversupply issue,” Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney, said.

The Department of Energy (DoE) will release its weekly report on Thursday, a day later than usual because of Monday’s Labour Day holiday.

Analysts expect commercial crude-oil inventories rose 250,000 barrels in the week to September 4, according to a Bloomberg News survey.

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At the same time, the DoE on Wednesday had predicted in a new report that US crude oil production would decline through the middle of next year in response to low prices, before picking up again in late 2016 on an expected recovery in prices.

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