Oil mixed in Asia after slump in China stocks

Singapore, Jan 18 (AFP) Oil was mixed in Asian tradetoday with sentiment weighed down by a slump in Chinesestocks, analysts said.

New York''s main contract, light sweet crude forFebruary delivery, dropped 58 cents to USD 90.96 a barrel andBrent North Sea crude for March delivery was up 17 cents atUSD 97.60.

"The Shanghai Exchange slumped three per cent, whichprompted profit-taking in oil," said Ong Yi Ling, investmentanalyst for Phillip Futures in Singapore.

Shanghai''s Composite Index closed Monday down 3.03percent, or 84.68 points, at 2,706.66 amid growingexpectations that Beijing will roll out tougher measures tocrack down on inflation.

Optimism about the global economic recovery andinterest from bullish investors have pushed crude prices totrade close to USD 100 a barrel in recent sessions.

The rise in global oil prices has also been attributedto a harsh winter hitting Europe and parts of North America,as well as growth in China and other developing nations.

The OPEC oil cartel, which pumps 40 per cent of worldcrude, revised upwards its 2011 world demand growth estimateon Monday, given the pace of global economic recovery and coldwinter weather in the northern hemisphere.

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countriessaid it was pencilling in world oil demand growth of 1.23million barrels per day (bpd) or 1.43 percent to 87.32 millionbpd for this year, compared with 1.37 per cent previously.

"The magnitude and the speed of the world economicrecovery will have a remarkable impact on world oil demandthis year," OPEC said in its latest monthly bulletin. (AFP)

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