Oil prices rise in Asian trade

Traders work in the oil options pit at the New York Mercantile Exchange, on Wednesday, July 3, 2013. Oil prices edged higher in Asian trade Monday, as improved transportation links unlocked a glut of United States supplies, analysts said. -- FILE PHO
Traders work in the oil options pit at the New York Mercantile Exchange, on Wednesday, July 3, 2013. Oil prices edged higher in Asian trade Monday, as improved transportation links unlocked a glut of United States supplies, analysts said. -- FILE PHOTO: AP 

AFP - Oil prices edged higher in Asian trade Monday, as improved transportation links unlocked a glut of United States supplies, analysts said.

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in August, rose 44 US cents to US$108.49 a barrel, while Brent North Sea crude for September was up 36 US cents at US$108.43 in mid-morning trade.

WTI had reached as high as US$109.32 in intra-day New York trade on Friday, topping the price of Brent for the first time since August 16, 2010.

The contract "has traded above Brent as the glut in Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for WTI, has been eased by pipeline and rail shipments," Lee Chen Hoay, investment analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore, told AFP.

Oil prices have been supported by a nearly 27-million barrel decline in US stockpiles in the past three weeks thanks to the US driving season when Americans take to the roads for their holidays.

"We are in the driving season and expect to see prices for WTI sustained at these higher levels," said Kelly Teoh, market strategist at IG Markets in Singapore.