World oil prices fell in Asian trade Thursday as investors continued to lock in profits from recent gains and Libyan rebels exported the country's first crude oil shipment from a region that they control, analysts said. The oil was also hit by profit taking by some investors and climbing stockpiles in the US while China’s domestic fuel price increase reduced oil demand there, second largest oil consumer. Light sweet crude for May was seen trading at $108.41 per barrel at 12.30pm Singapore time while Brent crude was at $121.75 a barrel in London.
A tanker left a terminal near Tobruk Wednesday for an unknown destination in Europe. It was the first shipment for which the rebels had taken full responsibility, from extraction right up to delivery, and was not simply a matter of filling previous orders.
It also was the first such exports since international coalition air strikes began on March 19. China’s National Development and Reform Commission said gasoline and diesel retail prices will increase today because of global crude costs. US oil inventories rose for a fifth week to 357.7 million barrels, according to an Energy Department report Wednesday.
The price of oil crossed $109 a barrel in New York for the first time in two and a half years on Wednesday amid concerns about the war in Libya and as the dollar weakened against the euro. New York's main contract, light sweet crude for May, closed at $108.83 a barrel, up 49 cents from Tuesday.
Earlier the benchmark West Texas Intermediate contract hit $109.15 - a level last seen in September 2008. London''s Brent North Sea crude for May delivery reached $123.37 a barrel - the highest level since early August 2008. Brent settled at $122.30 a barrel, a gain of eight cents from Tuesday''s closing level