Oil prices hover around US$91 a barrel

Light, sweet crude for February delivery moved up to US$90.96 a barrel in Asian electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange by midday in Singapore. In London, March Brent crude futures rose to US$89.60 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange. This rise follows the sharp declines seen in the previous session on an unexpected increase in U.S. crude inventories last week. Crude oil stockpiles rose 4.3 million barrels last week, the first increase since the week ended November 9. Concerns about a lagging US economy also reflected on oil prices, after the U.S. Federal Reserve reported flat industrial output in December. A report by International Energy Agency has cutback growth predictions for world oil demand this year to 2.3%, that could get further revised if US demand gets affected by an economic slowdown. A weakening U.S. economy would only be partially offset by strong economic growth in China and the Middle East.
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