Tokyo - Oil prices edged lower in Asian trade on Wednesday as investors bet on a further increase in US inventories, indicating weak demand in the world's top crude consumer.
New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in December, was down 51 cents at $97.69 in afternoon trade, while Brent North Sea crude for December shed 23 cents to $108.78.
“Plentiful supply in the US, with expectations of a further increase in crude stockpiles, is putting pressure on prices,” Kenny Kan, market analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore, told AFP.
Dealers are expecting the US Department of Energy (DoE) weekly inventory report due out on Wednesday to show a rise of more than two million barrels in the week to October 25, Kan said.
US oil prices hit a near four-month low last week following DoE reports indicating a bulge in stockpiles. A rise indicate weak demand in the world's biggest economy and oil consuming nation.
Brent was weighed by profit-taking, Kan said, following recent gains over Middle East supply concerns.
Production in Libya, an Opec member, has been disrupted for months after labour unrest forced terminals to shut, slashing output to below 100 000 barrels per day. Before the shutdowns, Libya was producing between 1.5 million and 1.6 million barrels daily.
Production has increased in recent weeks, but an uptick in protests has raised concerns about exports owing to near-daily attacks and bombings that some fear could lead to civil war.