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Oil falls to near $82 before US crude supply data

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[October 26, 2010]  SINGAPORE (AP) -- Oil prices slipped to near $82 a barrel Tuesday in Asia as traders looked to the latest U.S. crude supply reports for clues about the strength of consumer demand for fuel.

Benchmark oil for December delivery was down 30 cents to $82.22 a barrel at late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 83 cents to settle at $82.52 on Monday.

Crude inventories likely rose 1.5 million barrels last week, according to analysts surveyed by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos. The American Petroleum Institute plans to announce its inventory numbers later Tuesday while the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration reports its weekly supply data Wednesday.

"While the numbers could bring some surprises this week, one week's report will not change a continued bearish supply-usage situation as large supply surpluses will remain intact," Ritterbusch and Associates said in a report.

Crude will likely hover above $80 until the Federal Reserve details possible measures to spur economic growth, known as quantitative easing, at its meeting Nov. 2 and 3.

"Energy futures could continue to chop sideways through the rest of this week as both the bulls and the bears are apt to exercise caution ahead of next week's Fed meeting," Ritterbusch said.

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In other Nymex trading in November contracts, heating oil fell 0.74 cent to $2.247 a gallon and gasoline dropped 0.93 cent to $2.068 a gallon. Natural gas gained 1.2 cents to $3.329 per 1,000 cubic feet.

In London, Brent crude fell 47 cents to $83.07 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

[Associated Press; By ALEX KENNEDY]

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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