SINGAPORE, Feb 25, 2009 (AFP) - Oil prices were mixed in Asian trade on Wednesday as the market searched for signs of demand in a weakening global economy, analysts said.
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for April delivery, rose 11 cents to 40.07 dollars a barrel.
Brent North Sea crude for April delivery fell 23 cents to 42.27.
"The markets are sort of still in search of indicators for demand and whether OPEC cuts are going to hold in the long run and support prices," said Jason Feer, Asia Pacific vice-president for energy market analysts Argus Media Ltd.
The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which pumps about 40 percent of the world's oil, announced output cuts late last year of more than four million barrels per day in a bid to reverse tumbling prices and protect revenues.
Barclays Capital said in a report Tuesday that the oil market was currently facing "something of a hiatus," marked by macroeconomic uncertainty and lack of any definitive direction in the flow of market data.
The New York price, slightly lower in early Asian trade Wednesday, rose slightly as US President Barack Obama made his debut address to a joint session of Congress.
In a blizzard of proposals, programmes and reforms, the president demanded an overhaul of financial regulation and warned he may need more than the 700 billion dollars already earmarked to save the debt-riddled finance industry.
"Demand concerns remain prevalent on the energy markets, so the upside continues to be limited and we could be in for more sideways trading," said Andrey Kryuchenkov, an analyst at VTB Capital.