Tokyo - US crude oil prices stayed below $100 in Asian trade on Tuesday as investors digested a steep increase in stockpiles following slow refinery activity, analysts said.
New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in November, was down 43 cents to $98.79 a barrel in afternoon trade, extending its slide after sinking to three-month lows on Monday.
Brent North Sea crude for December delivery gained 10 cents to $109.74.
The US Department of Energy (DoE) said Monday crude inventories rose 4.0 million barrels in the week ended October 11, far higher than the 1.7 million increase forecast by analysts.
A rise in stockpiles indicate weak demand in the world's biggest economy and oil consuming nation, putting downward pressure on prices.
The closely watched weekly report, which typically is released Wednesdays, had been postponed because of the 16-day US government shutdown this month.
On Wednesday the DoE will report the data for the week ending October 18.
Vanessa Tan, investment analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore, said the seasonal maintenance of refineries coupled with the movement of pipeline flows around the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery point for WTI futures helped drive the stockpiles increase.
“This surplus of oil supplies in the near term helped to weigh on prices but some support came from expectations that the US Fed would not reduce asset purchases as its quantitative easing programme would support the demand of oil,” she said in a note.
Investors are keenly awaiting the release later Tuesday of US non-farm payrolls data.
The figures, also delayed because of the shutdown, will provide clues on the state of the US economy and could have a bearing on when the Federal Reserve winds down its stimulus programme. - AFP