SINGAPORE Dec 23 Oil prices slipped on Friday
in thin Asian trade ahead of the Christmas and New Year
holidays, wiping out some of the gains in the previous session
as traders took profits. A strong dollar also weighed on
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude fell 31 cents to
$52.64 a barrel as of 0127 GMT after settling 46 cents, or 0.9
percent, up in the previous session.
Brent futures for February delivery dropped 30 cents
to $54.75 a barrel after ending the previous session up 59
cents, or 1.1 percent.
"I think it is the usual reversal of fortunes that exist in
the Asian time zone after the previous session's close," said
Jonathan Barratt, chief investment officer at Sydney's Ayers
"In this case there is some profit taking after the last
session gains. Oil prices are also weaker due to the stronger
dollar," he said.
"But overall, the fact the dollar and commodities are
soaring either tells you demand for commodities has picked up or
there is a need for more supply," he added.
The dollar index was slightly lower on Friday but was
still close to a 14-year peak of 103.65 earlier this week.
A strong dollar makes greenback-denominated commodities
including oil more expensive for holders of other currencies.
Oil prices are trading in a band that's the highest since
Barratt has forecast U.S. crude will trade around $60 a
barrel in the first quarter next year, while Brent will be
around $62-$63 a barrel.
Prices are expected to be supported by a deal by the
Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC
oil producers to cut output by almost 1.8 million bpd from Jan.
Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on
Thursday he was confident there would be "a high level of
commitment" from oil producers to abide by the pact curbing
That came as Talal Nasser Al Athbi, head of the Organization
of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries' (OAPEC) Executive Bureau
on Thursday said that supply and demand in global oil markets
should rebalance during the first or second quarter of next
But moves by Libya to boost oil production following the
reopening of the country's main oil pipelines in the west could
be overshadowed by an unresolved political power struggle and
the risk of new blockades.
(Reporting by Keith Wallis; Editing by Michael Perry)