Current Oil Prices Move in Different Directions

The current oil prices moved in different directions before the release of the U.S. data and following a downgrade to a major forecast of crude demand growth, said analysts.

Brent for April delivery shed six cents to a crude price per barrel of $109.59 in London’s midday trading.

The U.S. benchmark for April delivery moved 22 cents higher to $92.76 a barrel.

Markets were waiting for the upcoming publication of the weekly energy supply report for hints on the present demand for crude in the U.S.

Before the report, the IEA lowered its global crude demand growth prediction for the second consecutive month, highlighting the impact of uncertainty from the budget discussions in the United States, weak business activity in China and high unemployment in Europe.

The IEA forecasted that the total oil demand would be 90.6 million barrels daily for 2013, a 60,000-barrel reduction from its prediction last month.

OPEC recently lowered its oil demand prediction for this year, but made an 11 percent increase to 1 million barrels daily on its forecast for output growth by non-member suppliers. The organization anticipates the growth of non-member supplies to primarily come from North America.

The cartel, which contributes 35 percent to the world supply, anticipates a world demand of 89.7 million barrels daily for this year, an increase of 0.8 million compared to last year.

The Energy Information Agency of the United States lowered its prediction for the average price of Brent and WTI this year.

The agency expects the European benchmark to decline to around $108 per barrel this year from last year’s $112 per barrel. The prices of the U.S. benchmark are expected to slightly drop this year, but would stay around $92 per barrel until 2014, according to the EIA’s short-term energy outlook.