SINGAPORE (Commodity Online) : Global oil prices eased in Asian trade Thursday after hitting a seventeen month high overnight.

Light sweet crude for May delivery was seen trading at $83.32 a barrel at 11.30 a.m Singapore time after hitting as high as $83.85 a barrel in early trade.

London ICE Brent was seen trading at $82.30 a barrel at the same time.

Analysts said the black gold pared gains mainly on investor's move to liquidate positions ahead of the Easter holiday.

Wednesday's gains were pared after the US government's Department of Energy announced that crude inventories rose by 2.9 million barrels in the week ending March 26. Market expectations had been for a gain of 2.1 million barrels.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in May, closed at $83.76 a barrel, up $1.39 from Tuesday's closing price.

London's Brent North Sea crude for May advanced 1.42 cents to $82.70 per barrel.

Last quarter, oil traded from a peak of $83.95 in January to as low as $69.50 a barrel in February, a range of less than $15.

Oil surged to all-time peaks of above $147 a barrel in July 2008, before the global economic crisis brought them crashing to just $32 a barrel.