Oil prices rise in Asian trade

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jul 15 2011 12:02 PM | Updated as of Jul 15 2011 08:02 PM

SINGAPORE - Crude prices were higher in Asian trade Friday 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 $95.99 per barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for September delivery rose 17 cents to $116.43 on its first trading day.

Oil prices rebounded from Thursday's slump after the US reported an unexpected 0.1% 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%.

"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.