Oil prices rise in Asian trade

Graph falling
Singapore, Jul 15: Crude prices were higher in Asian trade today on better-than-expected US retail sales and bargain-hunting following recent market slumps, analysts said. New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate light sweet crude for delivery in August, gained 30 cents to USD 95.99 per barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for September delivery rose 17 cents to USD 116.43 on its first trading day. Oil prices rebounded from Thursday's slump after the US reported an unexpected 0.1 per cent rise in retail sales last month, said Ben Westmore, energy economist for Melbourne-based National Australia Bank.

Analysts had expected retail sales in the world's largest oil consumer to fall by 0.2 per cent.

"I think the turnaround is difficult to judge, but I'd say it's on the macro data out of the US last night where mostly better-than-expected retail sales is probably the one that''s surprised the market a little on the upside," he told AFP.

"That could be one thing that's caused a little bit of a turnaround but also just some buying on weakness," Westmore added.

Oil prices had fallen on Thursday as worries over the widening eurozone debt crisis cutting into global energy demand deterred traders. 


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