Published: Friday March 19, 2010 MYT 12:58:00 PM
Oil drifts below US$82 in Asia Friday
SINGAPORE:Oil prices drifted below US$82 a barrel Friday in Asia, pulling back from a monthlong rally that was fueled by mostly positive news about the U.S. economy.
Benchmark crude for April delivery was down 26 cents to $81.94 a barrel at midday Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The contract fell 73 cents to settle at $82.20 on Thursday.
Crude jumped to $83 a barrel earlier this week from $69 early last month on expectations sluggish consumer demand will eventually catch up with a steadily improving U.S. economy.
Some analysts say investor concerns that low interest rates and massive government spending could spark inflation will help keep crude prices from a protracted downturn.
"Oil is receiving immense support from inflationary fears and a rising Dow Jones index," Sander Capital said in a report.
"Oil should stay above $80 next week." The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.4 percent Thursday, the index's eighth straight gain.
In other Nymex trading in April contracts, heating oil fell 0.57 cent to $2.113 a gallon, and gasoline dropped 0.46 cent to $2.296 a gallon.
Natural gas was steady at $4.085 per 1,000 cubic feet.
In London, Brent crude was down 22 cents at $81.26 on the ICE futures exchange. - AP