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Oil prices down in Asia

Business News : Oil prices fell in Asia Wednesday as dealers await the latest US supply report for clues about production levels, while weak Chinese and German trade data also weighed, analysts said.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for January delivery slipped 86 cents to $62.96 while Brent crude for January was down 81 cents at $66.03 in afternoon trade.

“With the global supply glut, the main concern at the moment is the level of production in the US,” Daniel Ang, investment analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore, told AFP.  “The US stockpiles report will be in focus to see if there is any change in production growth,” he said.

Analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal said they expected domestic inventories to have fallen by 2.7 million barrels in the week to December 5.  Industry group the American Petroleum Institute in its own survey, however, predicted stockpiles had risen by 4.4 million barrels.  It also said refinery operations likely increased 1.6 percentage points to 94.6 percent of capacity.  The Department of Energy will release the official stockpiles report later Wednesday.

The department on Tuesday modestly reduced its 2015 US oil production forecast to 9.3 million barrels per day from the previous 9.4 million estimate. Ang said German and Chinese trade data this week “have shown signs of dropping global demand and put pressure on oil prices”.

German exports slipped 0.5 percent month-on-month in October, while imports fell 3.1 percent. That came a day after China said exports grew just 4.7 percent year-on-year in November and imports dropped 6.7 percent.

Trade figures out of Germany and China, both manufacturing giants, are closely watched for their impact on crude prices, especially the more international Brent contract.

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