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Oil steady after yesterday's all-time high ahead of key US economic data

Friday, January 4, 2008

LONDON (Thomson Financial) - Oil was steady in early trade as the market paused for breath after yesterday's fresh all-time high above 100 usd, the result of a US Dept of Energy inventory report that showed US crude stocks fell by more than expected last week.

Prices initially fell to day lows following the report, which also showed an increase in heating oil stocks and a rise in refinery utilisation, before buyers stepped in to send crude to a new record of 100.09 usd.

New York-traded WTI crude has now broken the 100 usd a barrel mark twice in two successive sessions, although the initial break on Wednesday was the result of a single one-lot transaction.

At 8.58 am, New York's WTI crude for February delivery was down 12 cents at 99.06 usd per barrel. London's Brent crude for February delivery was down 5 cents at 97.55 usd per barrel, having yesterday reached a new record high of 98.50 usd.

"We suspect that after Wednesday's spectacular run higher, markets may be in for a pause here, especially now that Thursday's EIA figures did not provide enough of a spark to catapult a run off the 100 usd mark," said MF Global analyst Ed Meir.

"Trading could be quiet ahead of the US non-farm payrolls numbers out later on Friday as well," he added. "Another key indicator due out later today will be the ISM services index."

Posted by MOHAMED SAID at 1:06 AM  

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