SINGAPORE (AFP) – Oil prices turned higher in Asian trade Tuesday on expectations of upbeat economic data from the United States, the world’s biggest economy, analysts said.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for November delivery was up nine cents to $94.66 a barrel in afternoon trade and Brent crude added seven cents to $97.27.
WTI climbed $1.03 in US trade Monday, while Brent was up 20 cents ahead of a fresh round of results analysts hope will confirm the US economic recovery is well on track.
Phillip Futures said in a market commentary traders were expecting that a key index for the US manufacturing sector to be released Wednesday would be “positive”.
But it said price gains would be capped by “rising Libyan crude supply and a possible decrease in US crude imports”.
The US Conference Board is also due to release Tuesday a report on consumer confidence for September, while the US Labor Department’s take on the jobs situation will be out Friday.
On Wednesday, the US Energy Department unveils its weekly oil inventory report, which is closely watched for an indication of the level of demand in the world’s top oil consuming nation.
“The Conference Board’s measure of consumer confidence reached a new seven-year high of 92.4 last month, and we see no reason why the index should not rise further in September,” research house Capital Economics said.
“The key determinants of confidence have all improved,” it said, adding it expects the September index to come in around 93.5.
Consumer spending is the main engine for the US economy, a key driver for global growth.
Capital Economics also said that improved global oil supplies, not falling demand, will keep a lid on any oil price increase.
It said that “a fall in oil prices which is due to improved supply, rather than weak demand, should be a positive for global growth”.
The drivers for the ample global oil supplies include “increased US shale output, relief that geopolitical problems have not disrupted supply and expectations that output in Iran and Libya will recover”, it added.