Oil prices up ahead of US stockpiles data

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Singapore—Oil prices rose in Asia Wednesday as traders awaited the release of US energy stockpiles data and a US central bank decision on interest rates. The first crude shipment from Libya in two years had no immediate impact on prices a week before OPEC producers and Russia meet in Algeria to discuss ways to stabilise prices.
At around 0240 GMT, the US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for November delivery, a new contract, was 77 cents higher at $44.82 and Brent for November was up 59 cents at $46.47. An oil tanker left the Libyan port of Ras Lanouf for Italy on Tuesday, in the first shipment since late 2014 when fighting erupted over control of the “oil crescent”, an official said in Tripoli.
“The amount of oil coming out of Libya is fairly limited so it won’t have a material impact on crude prices today,” Singapore-based OANDA senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley told AFP. He said the shipment was meant to have gone out last week but was delayed because of fighting at the port.
“This is indicative of the unpredictability of Libyan oil production because the fighting means that we don’t know how sustained their output can be,” he added. He said the two factors being closely watched this week are the Federal Reserve’s decision on interest rates and stockpile numbers to be released by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).—AFP