Oil rebounded in Asian trade today following better-than-expected industrial production figures from the United States, analysts said.
New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in May, gained 16 cents to $88.88 a barrel, while Brent North Sea crude climbed back above the $100-mark after falling to a nine-month low the day before.
Brent crude for June contract was up 39 cents at $100.30 in the morning trade. It had slumped to $98 per barrel yesterday, its lowest point since July 11, 2012.
“The rise in prices is an ongoing reaction to better-than-expected US industrial production data,” Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney, said.
“These figures were a relief to the market, after having seen a run of downbeat macroeconomic numbers.”
US industrial production slowed in March but over the first quarter posted its biggest gain in a year, central bank data released yesterday showed.
For the first three months of the year, the output surged at an annual rate of 5.0 per cent, the strongest increase since the first quarter of 2012.
Prices had taken a tumble at the start of the week on weak Chinese economic data, which suggested that the world’s second largest economy was not growing as fast as expected.
China’s gross domestic product slowed to 7.7 per cent in the first quarter of this year, coming in below market expectations.
China is the world’s biggest energy consuming nation and the health of its economy is closely watched by the oil market.
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