Oil prices mixed in Asian trade

Written by: Pti
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Singapore, Apr 18: Oil prices were mixed in Asian trade today as concerns over Europe's sovereign debt crisis continue to niggle investors, despite Spain's above-target bond auction.

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in May was up three cents to USD 104.23 per barrel while Brent North Sea crude for June shed 11 cents to USD 118.67 in morning trade.

"Brent remains weighed by concerns about the debt situation in Europe despite the successful bond sale in Spain... Things could change easily and investors have an eye on that," Justin Harper, market strategist at IG Markets Singapore, told AFP.

Spain yesterday said it sold more 12- and 18-month bonds than it had planned -- slightly easing concerns over the country's ability to repay its debts -- although yields on the two were higher than previously. Eyes will now be on a crucial sale auction of benchmark 10-year debt tomorrow.

The International Monetary Fund said in its semi-annual report that eurozone governments and banks continue to face daunting refinancing needs of about 23 percent of gross domestic product this year alone.

Harper added that "WTI and equity markets ... (have) been lifted by rosy blue-chip earnings data from the US and IMF growth projections". The IMF said the US economy -- the world's biggest -- would grow this year by 2.1 per cent, up 0.3 percentage points from its January estimate.

However, the fund warned that Washington's bickering politicians should solve its debt problems in order to get the still-vulnerable economy on a strong footing.


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