Fin24

Oil higher on Mideast tensions

2012-01-03 07:55

Singapore - Oil rose in Asian trade on Tuesday, underpinned by positive economic data out of China and geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, analysts said.

New York's main contract light sweet crude for February delivery gained $1.45 to $100.28 and Brent North Sea crude for the same period put on $1.02 to $108.40.

"Prices have moved up as the market reacts to the expansion in manufacturing activity in China," said Victor Shum, senior principal at Purvin and Gertz international energy consultants.

"Geopolitical tensions over Iran has also supported the market," he said.

Official data released Sunday showed China's manufacturing activity rebounded in December helped by holiday shopping.

The purchasing managers' index (PMI) reached 50.3 in December, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said. A reading above 50 indicates the sector is expanding.

China is the world's largest consumer of energy and as the number two economy globally has a huge impact on crude prices.

Traders on Tuesday were closely monitoring the situation in the Strait of Hormuz after Iran tested missiles near the strategic channel on Monday.

The missile tests underlined Iran's threats to close the vital oil-transit waterway through which 20% of the world's oil flows through.

The US has warned it will not tolerate a closure of the strategic channel.