Oil dips in Asian trade

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Singapore - Oil prices fell in Asian trade on Monday on a stronger dollar as investors digested Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen's defence of the bank's monetary policy, analysts said.

The US benchmark, West Texas Intermediate for October, eased 16 cents to $93.49 while Brent crude for October tumbled 19 cents to $102.10.

The US dollar surged against the yen in Asian trading Monday to 104.19 yen - its highest level since January - from 103.87 in New York on Friday.

A stronger greenback makes dollar-priced oil more expensive for buyers using weaker currencies, denting demand and pushing prices lower.

The dollar rose after Yellen on Friday discussed slack seen in the US jobs market and an improvement in recent economic indicators.

While some US economic data has improved, there still remains “considerable uncertainty about the level of employment”, she told the Jackson Hole Conference.

Singapore's United Overseas Bank said Yellen's comments, while seen as neutral, also signalled that “monetary policy is not on a preset path and the Fed's decision path will be data-dependent”.

An eventual hike in official short-term interest rates will likely take place in the middle of next year, the bank said.

Analysts said the oil market is also under pressure on easing concerns about conflicts in crude producers Libya and Iraq, as well as Ukraine, a key conduit for Russian gas exports to Europe.

Crude prices have seen a build in risk premium over armed insurgencies in the three countries, but a market awash with supplies have since eased worries about the impact of potential disruptions. - AFP

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