Investing.com

Investing.com - Crude oil prices eased in Asia on Monday ahead of a holiday in the U.S. and with markets closed in London as well.



On the New York Mercantile Exchange, U.S. crude oil oil for delivery in July traded at $104.23 a barrel, down 0.11%, after the rose on Friday to a daily high of $104.50 a barrel, the most since April 21, before subsequently settling at $104.35 by close of trade, up 0.59%, or 61 cents.



Last week, the Commerce Department reported that sales of new homes rose by a larger-than-expected 6.4% to 433,000 in April, after two months of decline. Analysts had been expecting a figure of 425,000. March''s number was revised up from 384,000 to 407,000.



The upbeat data added to signs of a recovery in the housing market and bolstered the outlook for the broader economic recovery.



Meanwhile, prices continued to draw support from bullish supply data released earlier in the week. U.S. crude oil inventories tumbled by 7.2 million barrels to hit a total of 391.3 million last week. Analysts had expected supplies to increase by 0.8 million barrels.



Stockpiles at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for Nymex oil, fell to 23.4 million barrels last week, the least since December 2008.



In the week ahead, floor trading on the Nymex will remain closed on Monday, May 26 because of the Memorial Day holiday. Revised data on U.S. first quarter growth and reports on U.S. consumer confidence will be in focus.



Investors will also be watching developments tied to the weekend elections in Ukraine, amid concerns over a disruption to supplies from the region.



Ukraine will hold presidential elections on Sunday, May 25, and concerns persist that Russia will meddle in the voting and escalate the crisis.



U.S. and European officials have already warned that Russia would face additional sanctions if Moscow disrupts the upcoming elections.



Russia produced 10.4 million barrels of oil per day in 2012 and exported 7.4 million, making it the world’s second largest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia.



Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil for July delivery picked up 0.16%, or 18 cents, on Friday to settle at $110.54 a barrel by close of trade.



The July Brent contract rose 0.71% or 79 cents a barrel, on the week, amid growing concerns over a disruption to supplies from Libya.



Libya, an OPEC member, is home to Africa’s largest oil reserves, but production there has faltered in the three years following the topple of former leader Muammar Qaddafi due to political instability and attacks on oil assets.







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