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Oil prices tick up after positive US data

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Global oil prices rose modestly Tuesday after a rash of positive US economic data underpinned hopes for stronger growth in the world's largest economy.

The small rally came as traders awaited the US government's weekly report on the nation's petroleum supplies due Wednesday.

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate light sweet crude for August, closed at $95.32 a barrel, an increase of 14 cents from Wednesday's closing level.

In London trade, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in August rose 10 cents to settle at $101.26 a barrel.

Upbeat US indicators pointed to improvement: Durable goods orders climbed a better-than-expected 3.6 percent in May. In the recovering housing sector, sales of new homes in May rose at the fastest pace since July 2008.

And consumer confidence surged to a five-year high in June, far above analyst expectations, the Conference Board reported.

While the data helped to support crude prices, it also lifted the dollar, which in turn "added some downward pressure to the WTI," said David Bouckhout of TD Securities.

The dollar was up 0.2 percent against the euro in afternoon trade. A firmer dollar tends to weigh on dollar-priced oil from buyers using weaker currencies.

Bouckhout said the market was moving sideways with no real, clear trend with traders "cautious" before Wednesday's US supply figures.

Traders were anticipating a drop of 2.0 million barrels in crude oil, offset by increases of 1.0 million barrels in distillates, including diesel and hearing fuels, and 1.0 million barrels in gasoline, said Timothy Evans of Citi Futures.

"Crude prices are struggling to gain significant ground but have managed to pick up off multi-week lows as Chinese liquidity concerns and weaker flash PMI released last week continue to weigh on the global demand outlook, side-lining many investors," said Sucden analyst Kash Kamal.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130625/oil-prices-tick-after-positive-us-data