Oil prices mixed in Asia

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IOL pic oct28 oil barrels . .

Singapore -

Oil was mixed in Asia on Wednesday, with extreme US weather and renewed conflict in South Sudan providing support to prices amid pressure to lock in profits from recent gains.

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for March, gained 29 cents in late morning trade to $102.72, while Brent North Sea crude eased 26 cents to $110.20 for its April delivery.

WTI had surged $2.13 while Brent crude gained $1.28 in closing deals on Tuesday.

“The extreme cold weather increased demand for heating oil and in turn benefited WTI crude as a feedstock,” Tan Chee Tat, investment analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore, told AFP.

The United States is currently enduring an especially bitter winter, with the midwestern and southern states experiencing unusually low temperatures.

While milder weather is forecast this week in some US cities, meteorologists expect another wintry blast after that.

Renewed conflicts in oil-producing South Sudan has also given support to Brent prices.

Rebel forces in South Sudan on Tuesday launched a major assault against the key oil-hub of Malakal, officials said.

Fighting in South Sudan has continued for more than two months, raising concerns on the stability of the oil exporting country situated in North Africa.

Investors meanwhile are waiting for banking giant HSBC's purchasing managers' index (PMI) data for February from China, due to be released on Thursday, for clues on the health of the world's second biggest economy.

The January PMI figures showed China's key manufacturing sector contracted for the first time in six months.

China is the world's top energy consuming nation. - Sapa-AFP

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