Oil prices decline slightly in Asian trade


AFP

SINGAPORE — Oil prices fell in Asia Monday as dealers focused on a slew of global manufacturing data for clues about demand growth, while a strong dollar weighed on market sentiment, analysts said. U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for December delivery fell 35 cents to US$80.19 while Brent crude for December was down 23 cents at US$85.63 in afternoon trade. Markit’s purchasing managers index (PMI) for the eurozone, Germany and the United States are due to be released later Monday, along with those of France, Italy and Spain. The U.S. Institute of Supply Management is also slated to release its own index for the U.S. manufacturing sector.

China’s official PMI came in at 50.8 in October compared with 51.1 in September, the government said on Saturday, raising concerns about slowing growth in the world’s second-largest economy and top energy consumer. The index tracks manufacturing activity in China’s factories and workshops and is a closely watched indicator of the health of the economy.

Singapore’s United Overseas Bank said a stronger U.S. dollar, trading near seven-year highs against the yen, was putting downward pressure on oil prices. The greenback bought 112.73 yen in afternoon trade compared with US$112.35 yen in New York late Friday.

A stronger greenback makes dollar-priced oil expensive for buyers using weaker currencies, denting demand and pushing prices lower.