Brent crude holds steady near $91


Brent crude held steady near $91 (€72) per barrel today as short-covering and forecasts of a drop in US crude inventories offset worries that a European summit would be unable to produce a concrete solution to the region's debt crisis.

The two-day summit in Brussels will be the 20th time EU leaders have met to try to resolve a crisis that has spread across Europe since it began in Greece in early 2010.

Appetite for riskier assets is expected to stay low as investors remain cautious ahead of the meet later this week.

Brent crude was at $90.94 a barrel by 0601 GMT, down 7 cents. US crude fell 11 cents to $79.10.

"The sentiment continued from last night on some short covering triggered by RBOB (gasoline futures)," said Ryoma Furumi, a commodities sales manager at Newedge Japan, referring to a rise of nearly 3 per cent in US gasoline futures yesterday, fuelled by concerns about supplies in New York Harbor, the delivery point for the contract. "People are staying on the sidelines to see which way the market will go."

Oil prices are expected to be underpinned by forecasts for a 700,000-barrel drop in US crude oil stockpiles last week and supply disruptions in Norway and Argentina due to labour strikes.

Worries about production from the Gulf of Mexico due to a storm threat had boosted oil prices in the previous session, but these concerns have eased with Tropical Storm Debby headed away from energy infrastructure in the basin.