Oil mixed in Asian trade

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Tokyo - Oil prices were mixed in Asian trade on Tuesday on the eve of a meeting by the Opec crude cartel on output levels and ahead of the release of US third-quarter economic data.

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for January delivery, was up 17 cents at $93.99 a barrel in afternoon trade, while Brent North Sea crude for January fell four cents to $111.41.

“This week, the focus will be on the release of US third-quarter GDP on Thursday and November's non-farm payrolls report on Friday,” Phillip Futures said in a market commentary.

The data from the world's biggest economy and largest oil consuming nation could determine when its central bank will start winding down its massive economic stimulus programme.

The US central bank's policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee is scheduled to meet from December 17.

“Focus will also be on the OPEC meeting in Vienna this week,” Phillip Futures said, referring to the gathering of ministers from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries on Wednesday.

Oil prices had risen in the morning on strong manufacturing data from major economies.

China's manufacturing growth in November maintained its strong pace from the previous month to stay at a 19-month high, official data showed.

The forward-looking purchasing manager indices for the manufacturing sectors in Europe and the United States also climbed, supporting a slightly more bullish outlook for the market.

At the meeting in Vienna, Opec ministers are expected to decide on whether to change the cartel's output level of around 30 million barrels a day.

However, Saudi Arabia, the world's leading oil exporter, has said it is satisfied with current prices as well as global supply-and-demand levels.

Kuwait oil minister Mustafa al-Shamali also said ahead of the meeting that he did not expect Opec, which pumps about 35 percent of the world's crude, to alter its production level. - AFP

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