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SINGAPORE, April 22, 2010 (AFP)
Oil prices fell in Asian trade Thursday after a report showing weaker demand in the United States, the world’s largest energy-consuming nation, analysts said.

New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in June, dropped 26 cents to 83.42 dollars a barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for June was down 16 cents to 85.54 dollars.

The US Department of Energy (DoE) announced Wednesday that American crude reserves increased 1.9 million barrels in the week ending April 16. This was against market expectations for a drop of 200,000 barrels

Gasoline or petrol stockpiles also soared 3.6 million barrels, more than forecasts for a small gain of 300,000 barrels.

Distillates, which include diesel and heating fuel, rose 2.1 million barrels whereas analysts had expected an increase of 900,000 barrels.

“The increase in crude inventories was largely unexpected so demand fundamentals are weighing on people’s minds,” Serene Lim, a Singapore-based oil analyst with the ANZ bank, told AFP.

Demand in the United States is closely monitored by the oil market because it is the world’s biggest economy and its largest energy consumer.

The giant US economy is struggling to recover from its worst downturn since the 1930s.


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