Oil up in Asian trade

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Sep 30 2011 11:22 AM | Updated as of Sep 30 2011 08:04 PM

SINGAPORE - Oil prices rose in Asian trade Friday after German lawmakers passed an expansion of the eurozone's rescue fund and positive US economic data boosted investor sentiment, analysts said.

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in November, gained 53 cents to $82.67.

Brent North Sea crude for November delivery was up 28 cents to $104.23.

"Germany's lower house's approval of the eurozone crisis fund and US economic data beating market expectations have kept oil prices up," said Ker Chung Yang, a commodity analyst for Phillip Futures in Singapore.

The German parliament on Thursday voted overwhelmingly to beef up the the size and scope of the 440-billion-euro ($590 billion) European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), handing it new powers.

The move by Germany was greeted with relief by crude traders as well as bourses in the US and Europe, with attention now turning to a key international audit of debt-mired Greece.

In the US, the government revised upward its economic growth estimate for the second quarter of 2011 to 1.3%, better than its earlier estimate of 1%.

In addition, the US Labor Department reported a sharp fall in new applications for jobless insurance last week.

However, despite the positive economic data from the US, Ker added that "negative factors are still lingering."

"US oil demand in July fell by nearly four percent on a year-on-year basis, which is a sign showing the effect that the US' weak economy will cause on oil consumption," Ker told AFP.

The US is the world's largest economy and oil consumer, and any encouraging economic data from the US would spur investors' confidence.