Oil falls in Asian trade on profit-taking

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jul 01 2011 11:44 AM | Updated as of Jul 01 2011 07:44 PM

SINGAPORE - Oil fell in Asian trade Friday as investors locked in profits from recent price rises as a result of easing concerns over Greece's debt crisis and a weaker dollar.

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in August, fell 60 cents to $94.82 a barrel, and Brent North Sea crude for August dipped 86 cents to $111.62.

"The weaker dollar, Greece's successful passing of austerity measures and supportive (US) Midwest manufacturing data all helped support crude oil prices," said Ker Chung Yang, a Singapore-based analyst at Phillip Futures.

Greece's parliament Thursday passed a tough austerity plan to avert a debt default which risked shaking the rest of Europe and the global financial system.

The passage of the measures paved the way for the release of more funds to Athens from the 110 billion euro ($160 billion) European Union-International Monetary Fund rescue package.

The measures include tax hikes and spending cuts expected to increase short-term economic hardship and triggered a general strike and violent street protests in the country.

"The recent passage of the relevant legislation in Greece's parliament will bolster Greece's efforts to implement its economic reform programme," IMF spokeswoman Caroline Atkinson said in Washington.

She said discussions on the next stage of rescue financing were under way and "we hope for a positive resolution soon."

A weaker dollar has also supported oil prices as it makes the dollar-priced commodity cheaper, perking up demand.

Ker, the Singapore analyst, said however that price strength "is limited by uncertainty about the effect of consumer nations’ release of oil reserves and lingering worries about slowing economic growth."

The International Energy Agency on June 23 announced it would release 60 million barrels of crude from strategic oil stocks to make up for the loss of output from Libya, where rebels have been battling to oust veteran leader Moamer Kadhafi.