Singapore: Oil prices rose above $70 a barrel Thursday in Asia, recovering from an eight-month low after the European debt crisis battered crude this month.
Benchmark crude for June delivery was up 44 cents to $70.31 a barrel at midday Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The June contract expires later Thursday and much of the trading volume has shifted to the July contract, which rose 36 cents to $72.84.
The June contract added 46 cents to settle at $69.87 on Wednesday after dropping earlier in the session to $67.90, the lowest since September.
Crude has plunged from $87 a barrel earlier this month as a debt crisis in Europe has hammered the euro and threatens to undermine economic growth.
US Oil supply data from the Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration was mixed. Crude inventories rose last week while gasoline stocks fell.
Analysts expect US crude demand will likely remain sluggish until the unemployment rate falls.
“This slow demand growth further supports our view that a significant increase in gasoline consumption will likely await a decline in the level of unemployment,” Ritterbusch and Associates said in a report. “The overall tone of the oil complex remains quite weak.”
In other Nymex trading in June contracts, heating oil rose 1.57 cents to $1.9609 a gallon, and gasoline gained 0.67 cents to $2.0219 a gallon. Natural gas was steady at $4.153 per 1,000 cubic feet.
In London, Brent crude July contact was down 18 cents to $73.87 on the ICE futures exchange.