Oil holds above $100 on strong China lending data
Oil prices held above $100 in Asian trade Monday cheered by a surge in bank lending in China, the world's top energy consumer.
New York's main contract West Texas Intermediate for March delivery rose 21 cents to $100.51 in late morning trade, while Brent North Sea crude for April gained three cents to $109.05.
"China's credit news showed that the credit increased and that there is still growth there. Maybe it is not as fast but it is still moving along," Kelly Teoh, market strategist at IG markets in Singapore, told AFP.
Loans by Chinese banks reached around 1.3 trillion yuan ($216 billion) in January, up 246.9 billion yuan from the same month a year ago, the People's Bank of China said at the weekend.
In December, banks granted just 482.5 billion yuan in new loans, previous figures showed.
The January lending figure beat analyst estimates.
Investors will also be focusing on banking giant HSBC's purchasing manager's index (PMI) data for February from China due to be released on Thursday for clues on the health of the world's second biggest economy, Teoh said.
The January PMI figures showed China's key manufacturing sector contracted for the first time in six months.