Oil prices turn higher

2011-01-21 10:47

Singapore - Oil prices turned higher in Asian trade on Friday as market sentiment was buoyed by strong Chinese economic growth last year, analysts said.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for March delivery, gained 24 cents to $89.83 per barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for March advanced 18c to $96.76.

Stellar Chinese economic numbers fuelled the crude price rally, said Jason Feer, Asia-Pacific vice-president and general manager of Argus Media in Singapore.

"It's probably the surprisingly high growth numbers coming out of China, indicating that demand is strong," he said, referring to the world's biggest energy consumer.

China said Thursday that its economy grew a blistering 10.3% in 2010, marking the fastest annual pace since the onset of the financial crisis in late 2008.

The 2010 figure, up from a revised 9.2% growth in 2009, highlighted China's powerful performance in a year when it overtook Japan to become the world's second largest economy behind the United States.