Oil mixed on improving US economy

2011-01-04 10:14

Singapore - Oil was mixed in afternoon Asian trade on Tuesday on strong economic data suggesting an improvement in the health of the US economy, analysts said.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for February delivery, dipped eight cents to $91.47 per barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for February was up three cents at $94.87.

The Institute for Supply Management reported on Monday that US manufacturing activity grew for the 17th straight month in December, bolstering confidence that the US economic recovery is gaining momentum.

And the Commerce Department reported construction spending rose by 0.4% in November to its highest point in five months.

"This adds to a sense of optimism about the accelerating US economy," said Victor Shum, senior principal for Purvin and Gertz international energy consultants in Singapore.

The United States is the world's biggest oil-consuming nation.

"Oil sentiment has turned decidedly bullish, partly driven by unusually cold weather, but more due to an increasingly optimistic consensus view on the 2011 economic performance, especially for the US," analysts at JPMorgan Chase said in a client note.