Oil prices down in Asian trade

Oil prices edged slightly down in Asian trade on Thursday after soaring in the US the previous day on strong US manufacturing data, analysts said.

New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for October delivery, slid six cents to 73.85 dollars a barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in October fell 24 cents to 76.11 dollars.

Ong Yi Ling, investment analyst at Singapore-based Phillip Capital, said the slight easing in prices was not indicative of market sentiment right now.

“Six cents is a bit marginal,” she said.

“I think sentiment is a bit positive right now,” Ong said, adding that encouraging US manufacturing data released Wednesday as well as strong openings from key Asian equities markets acted as the impetus for oil’s strong run.

The US manufacturing sector expanded for the 13th straight month in August, beating most analysts’ expectations.

The Institute of Supply Management said its manufacturing index rose to 56.3 points from 55.5 percent in July, trumping forecasts for a fall to 52.9 percent.

A reading above 50 percent indicates an expanding manufacturing sector.

Japanese, Hong Kong and South Korean equities markets were also up, lifted by a buoyant finish on Wall Street Wednesday following the release of the manufacturing data.

Ong said crude markets were now turning to the weekly US jobless claims report due out later Thursday for further leads.