Oil prices extend gains in Asian trade
Oil prices extended gains in Asian trade Tuesday, 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 for January delivery, was up 33 cents at $94.15 a barrel in mid-morning trade, while Brent North Sea crude for January 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 on Wednesday 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 percent of the world's crude, to alter its production level.