Saturday, January 28, 2012

Oil prices higher in Asian trade

Oil rose in Asian trade on Friday on expectations the US economy saw robust growth in the final quarter of 2011, analysts said, while tensions between the West and Iran also supported prices.  

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in March, gained 31 cents to USD 100.01 a barrel in morning trade.

Brent North Sea crude for March delivery was up 34 cents at USD 111.13.

US Commerce Department will release its figures later Friday, with analysts expecting the world's biggest economy to have grown 3.20 percent in the quarter, the fastest pace in 18 months.

European Union foreign ministers agreed a ban on Iranian oil imports and a phase-out of existing contracts up to July 1 to pressure Tehran to end its controversial nuclear programme.

In a retaliatory move, Iran's parliament is expected to consider next week a bill to ban oil exports to Europe immediately before the embargo comes into force, according to media reports.

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