SINGAPORE (Commodity Online) : Global oil prices eased in Asian trade Friday, tracking weak stocks in the region as investors looking for second-quarter U.S. economic growth report, scheduled for later in the day
Light sweet crude for September delivery was seen trading at $78.11 a barrel at 12.00 noon Singapore time while Brent crude was at $ 77.41 a barrel in London.
In other Nymex trading in August contracts, heating oil fell 0.42 cent to $2.0330 a gallon, gasoline was steady at $2.0974 a gallon and natural gas rose 2.7 cents to 4.854 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Major Asian equities declined Friday, ahead of a key U.S. economic growth data for the second quarter, as U.S. technology companies issued glum outlooks overnight.
On Thursday, crude prices climbed for the first time in the week after dollar dropped against major currencies and also on positive European data.
The data came on top of growing evidence of weak US consumer confidence which has sapped hopes for a strong economic recovery.
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in September, climbed $1.37 to $78.36 a barrel, its first gain in five sessions. London's Brent North Sea crude for September gained $1.53 to $77.59 per barrel. On Wednesday, oil prices dropped sharply after the US Department of Energy said crude oil inventories jumped 7.3 million barrels last week in the country, indicating sluggish demand in the world's biggest economy.
That was the strongest weekly increase since October 2008 and confounded market expectations for a drop of 1.4 million barrels.
Petrol stocks rose 100,000 barrels, below analyst expectations for a build of 500,000 barrels, and distillates, which include heating oil and diesel, rose by 900,000 barrels, while analysts projected a 2.1-million-barrel gain.