Oil down in Asia on downbeat Bernanke testimony

Oil down in Asia on downbeat Bernanke testimony

A lack of detail on US actions to counter a gloomy economic outlook in a Congressional testimony by Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke sent crude prices down in Asia today, analysts said.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in August, shed 26 cents to USD 88.96 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for September delivery 60 cents to USD 103.40.

Crude markets were discouraged by Bernanke's address to Congress yesterday, which contained no clear indication of a new round of quantitative easing or any additional Fed action to jumpstart the US economy, analysts said.

"While a QE3 announcement was never really on the cards, markets were hoping to get a clearer insight into what sort of conditions would prompt more Fed intervention," IG Markets said in a report.

"Sadly all Bernanke did was to repeat what he's said previously and reiterate his frustrations about the US economy's slow recovery. Not comments really worth getting out of bed for."

Bernanke said the US economy might be heading for even slower growth than the two percent it recorded in the first quarter, but reiterated that the Fed was prepared to react should it deteriorate.

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