Oil prices ease amid mixed messages
Global oil prices eased yesterday after comments by Saudi Energy Minister Khaled Al-Faleh that the market was heading towards balance were tempered by slowing demand in Asia, pockets of petrol oversupply and signs crude output could rise.
Brent crude futures were trading at $50.25 per barrel yesterday evening, down 10 cents from their last settlement.
US crude futures were trading down 9 cents at $48.90 per barrel.
US markets were closed on Monday for the Independence Day holiday, so trading remained thin on the day.
The energy minister of Saudi Arabia, the world's top crude exporter, and the secretary general of producer club OPEC agreed that global oil markets were heading towards balance, and that prices reflected this.
However, analysts at Morgan Stanley said there were also signs prices could fall again soon, pointing at stalling petrol demand and more oil from Canada and Nigeria after production problems.
In New York harbour, at least two tankers carrying gasoline-making components have dropped anchor, unable to discharge their cargo.
Several tankers with gasoline also have been diverted, underscoring the latest oversupply issue. (Reuters)