Staying High

SINGAPORE, Oct 5, 2006 (AFP) – Oil prices rebounded in Asian trade Thursday, coming off near 8-month lows on continuing unrest in Nigeria and amid reports that OPEC members are ready to cut production in a bid to support the market, dealers said.

At 11:25 am (0325 GMT) New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for November delivery, was up 77 cents at 60.18 dollars a barrel from 59.41 dollars in late US trade Wednesday. The contract at one point plunged to 57.70 dollars in US hours, a level not seen since February 16.

Brent North Sea crude climbed 63 cents to 59.85 dollars. It had sunk in London to 57.70 dollars — an intra-day low last seen on December 30, 2005.

“I think the unrest in Nigeria has caused this rebound in oil prices and also it has reminded the market that geopolitical factors still remain,” said Victor Shum, an analyst with Purvin and Gertz in Singapore.

“The market has, in the near-term, hit a bottom as we head into the (northern) winter season,” Shum said.

“Also there have been talks in the last few days from different OPEC members about cuts in production, especially after the US inventory data,” he added.

London’s Financial Times reported Thursday that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries