Oil prices extended gains in Asian trade today, with strong manufacturing data from major economies auguring well for demand, analysts said.
Investors are also keeping an eye on a meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) oil cartel this week regarding output levels, against a backdrop of unrest in member nation Libya.
New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate crude for January delivery, was up 33 cents at $94.15 a barrel in mid-morning trade, while Brent North Sea crude for January delivery added one cent to $111.46.
“Oil firmed as global manufacturing reports impressed and Libyan exports slowed to a trickle on the domestic strikes and protests, countering US dollar gains,” Singapore’s UOB bank said in a research note.
China’s manufacturing growth in November maintained its strong pace from the previous month to stay at a 19-month high, official data showed.
The forward-looking purchasing manager indices for the manufacturing sectors in Europe and the United States also climbed, supporting a slightly more bullish outlook for the market.
OPEC will meet in Vienna tomorrow to decide on whether to change its output level of around 30 million barrels a day.
Ahead of the meeting, however, Saudi Arabia, the world’s leading oil exporter, said it was satisfied with current prices as well as global supply-and-demand levels.
Kuwait Oil Minister Mustafa al-Shamali also said ahead of the meeting that he did not expect OPEC, which pumps about 35 per cent of the world’s crude, to alter its production level.
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