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Oil prices edge higher

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Oil prices rose to a five-week high Tuesday helped by firm US economic data.

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery, gained $1.53 to $96.34 a barrel.

In London, Brent North Sea crude for May added $1.19 to $109.36.

The euro remained at its weakest level since November but that did not slow trade.

A 5.7 percent gain in US durable goods orders in February, though mainly driven by aircraft orders, sustained a picture of a steadily growing economy.

Underpinning that was another monthly gain on the S&P/Case-Shiller index for home prices, which registered its best year-on-year gain, 8.1 percent in February, since mid-2006.

Strategic Energy and Economic Research analyst Michael Lynch said the data helped the buying mood.

"It is kind of a snowball effect, with people going from worrying about possibly a double dip recession, to being convinced that the recovery in the US is on solid ground. This is going to mean stronger demand for oil," he said.

Bart Melek of TD Securities cited the improved picture in Cyprus after the EU-IMF bailout deal was sealed.

"It reduces the risk of a greater contagion in Europe. Uncertainty related to this has led to market instability and concerns for investors, moving them away from risk assets for a few days," Melek said.

pmh/sst

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130326/oil-prices-edge-higher