Fin24

Oil higher in Asia on US data

2012-06-28 08:03

Singapore - Oil prices rose in Asian trade on Thursday, drawing support from largely positive US data and a strike by oil workers in Norway, analysts said.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for August delivery, was 30 cents higher at $80.51 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for August delivery was one cent up at $93.51.

Data released on Wednesday by the US National Association of Realtors showed pending home sales in the United States returned to March's two-year high in May, rebounding from an April plunge.

Crude prices are heavily influenced by US data as the American economy is the world's largest oil consumer.

The industry group said its index of pending home sales, or contracts signed but not closed, rose 5.9% to 101.1 in May. An index level of 100 generally indicates a healthy pace.

"The US housing market is proving to be an unlikely saviour for eurozone-jaded traders this week with more positive data," said Justin Harper, Singapore-based market strategist with IG Markets.

Meanwhile, a continuing strike by oil workers in Norway, the world's eighth-biggest exporter, also boosted crude prices, analysts said.

More than 700 oil workers went on strike Sunday after pension negotiations broke down.