Oil wobbles below 102 dollars in Asian trade

SINGAPORE, April 1, 2008 (AFP) – World oil prices traded below 102 dollars in Asian trade on Tuesday after falling more than four dollars in New York on concerns about slowing energy demand in the US, and a decline in Iraqi militia violence, dealers said.

In morning trade, New York’s main oil contract, light sweet crude for delivery in May, fell 18 cents to 101.40 dollars per barrel.

The contract tumbled 4.04 dollars to close at 101.58 dollars per barrel during floor trading on Monday at the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Brent North Sea crude for May traded steady, down one cent at 100.29 dollars a barrel, after settling at 100.30 dollars in London on Monday.

“Oil pricing has pulled back due to profit taking at the end of the first quarter” on Monday, said Victor Shum, senior principal at Purvin and Gertz energy consultancy in Singapore.

“Market sentiment has turned bearish given the latest data out of the US, which showed softening demand,” he said.

Oil prices have fallen since Friday after the US government confirmed that the world’s largest economy grew by a tepid 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter last year.

Economic momentum slowed despite the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate cuts. Since September, Fed policymaker