Oil dips slightly as Asia observes Lunar New Year

Monday 11 February 2013 12.59
Trading on oil markets set to be quiet this week due to Chinese New Year
Trading on oil markets set to be quiet this week due to Chinese New Year

The price of oil dipped slightly toward $95 a barrel as investors cut back on speculative positions and most Asian markets were closed for a holiday.

The benchmark oil contract for March delivery was down 30 cents to $95.42 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract had fallen 11 cents on Friday.

In London, Brent crude, used to price international varieties of oil, was down 82 cents to $118.08 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

Trading was expected to be light for much of the week with several Asian markets shut for the Lunar New Year.

Prices were kept from falling further by comments yesterday from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who said the Islamic Republic would not yield to pressure from Western powers, including sanctions blocking much of the country's oil exports, to halt its nuclear activities, including uranium enrichment.

Meanwhile, economic data has mostly been supportive. On Friday, new figures showed the US trade deficit fell nearly 21% in December from November - the smallest trade deficit in nearly three years - due largely to plunging oil imports. Production of oil is surging in the US, weighing on the price of US crude oil.

Keywords: oil, brent