The FINANCIAL -- Crude prices were mixed in
Asian trade Wednesday as investors grappled with the escalating debt
crisis in the eurozone ahead of a key European Union summit.
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for August, was up 13 cents at $79.49 a barrel in morning trade as the contract stayed below the psychologically important $80.00 threshold.
Brent North Sea crude for August delivery was down 14 cents to $92.99.
Justin Harper, market strategist at IG Markets Singapore, said investors were not pinning any hopes on a European Union summit on Thursday and Friday to discuss proposed reforms for the region's banking sector and rules on fiscal discipline.
The talks come as pressure increases on Europe to put its finances in order amid concerns that its debt crisis will lead to another global downturn.
"Markets are looking muddled at the moment. Investors are starting to (become) very jaded not just with the deepening eurozone crisis but with policymakers' ability to tackle the crisis," Harper said.
"For the first time, markets are not rising in anticipation of a crunch EU summit... Instead, they have been heading south as hopes fade of a near-term solution," he added in a commentary.
He said traders were cautious amid expectations that the EU summit is "unlikely to provide a painkiller to ease the throbbing migraine that is the eurozone".
Concerns over the eurozone were overshadowing a labour strike by oil workers in Norway, the world's eighth-biggest exporter, which has cut output and pushed Brent prices higher over the past two days.
According to EUbusiness, more than 700 oil workers began the strike on Sunday after pension negotiations broke down.
"So far, the action has cut Norway's oil production by 150,000 barrels per day," Phillip Futures said.