Oil prices were steady in Asian trade on Monday despite US congressional approval of a massive plan aimed at salvaging the world’s biggest economy.
New York’s main futures contract,light sweet crude for delivery in March,dropped five cents to USD 37.46 a barrel.
Brent North Sea crude for delivery in April fell 11 cents to USD 44.70 a barrel.
Trading on the floor of the New York Mercantile Exchange would be closed later today for the President’s Day holiday,leaving the market quiet,said Tony Nunan,of Mitsubishi Corp’s international petroleum business in Tokyo.
He said passage of the US stimulus measures was unlikely to boost prices because inventories were high and demand for crude was lacklustre in the weak economy.
The United States Congress late Friday approved a USD 787-billion package of tax cuts and fresh spending,setting the stage for President Barack Obama to sign the measure into law before his self-imposed Monday deadline.
“Most people feel it’s going to be a long,hard slog before we get any recovery in the economy,” Nunan said.
The price differential between New York crude and London Brent oil hit a record of more than USD 11 last week,which analysts attributed to soaring energy stockpiles in the US.