Oil rises above USD 91 amid mixed US supply data

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Singapore, Feb 3 (AP) Oil prices rose above USD 91 abarrel today in Asia amid mixed US crude and gasoline supplyfigures and violent street clashes in Egypt.

Benchmark crude for March delivery was up 48 cents atUSD 91.34 a barrel at late afternoon Singapore time inelectronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Thecontract settled 9 cents higher at USD 90.86 yesterday.

In London, Brent crude gained 88 cents to USD 103.22 abarrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

US energy supply data gave mixed signals about thestrength of consumer demand. The Energy Department''s EnergyInformation Administration said yesterday that crude suppliesrose less than expected last week but that gasolineinventories jumped more than analyst forecasts to the highestlevel since March 1993.

Meanwhile, supporters and opponents of President HosniMubarak fought running battles in Cairo on Wednesday andThursday, leaving three people dead and 600 injured, after the82-year-old leader resisted protesters'' calls for hisimmediate resignation. Shipping through Egypt''s Suez Canal hasnot been disrupted, but investors are also concerned politicalinstability could spread to oil rich countries in the MiddleEast.

Oil hovered in the USD 70s for most of last year butjumped up in the fourth quarter and has traded near USD 90 sofar this year, triggering concerns that higher costs for fuelwill spark inflation and undermine global economic growth.

Today, Australia''s national carrier Qantas Airwayssaid it will boost international fares by USD 20 to USD 50later this month because of soaring jet fuel prices.

Traders are also mulling a US stock market rally,frigid winter weather, Europe''s debt problems and a US Januaryemployment report scheduled for Friday. (AP)

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