Oil extends gains in Asian trade

Afp April 30, 2010

SINGAPORE: Oil prices extended gains in Asian trade on Friday on optimism over the US economic recovery following positive jobs data along with easing global fears about Greece's debt crisis, analysts said.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for June delivery, rose 43 cents to 85.60 dollars a barrel. London's Brent North Sea crude for June delivery was up 21 cents to 87.11 dollars per barrel.

Prices were supported by rising equity markets in Asia after a rally on Wall Street following encouraging US company results. Hong Kong shares were 1.30 percent higher in early trading and Tokyo's Nikkei was up 1.35 percent by noon. Falling claims for US unemployment benefits had lifted the oil market Thursday.

The US Labor Department said initial jobless claims fell for the second straight week, by 11,000, in the week ending April 24.

The claims were higher than expected but still "suggests some sort of recovery in the US economy, giving support to crude oil prices", Serene Lim, a Singapore-based analyst with the ANZ bank, told AFP.

Lim said news that a bailout package for crisis-hit Greece could be reached soon was also seen to boost the oil market.

Traders would be looking at the quarter-to-quarter US gross domestic product data due later on Friday for cues on the economic recovery in the world's largest economy and biggest oil consumer, Lim said.


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