SINGAPORE (AP) ? Oil prices rose above $94 a barrel Friday in Asia amid signs the U.S. economy is slowly improving, which could boost demand for crude.
Benchmark crude for January delivery was up 24 cents to $94.11 a barrel at late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell by $1.08 to settle at $93.87 on Thursday.
In London, Brent crude was up 61 cents at $104.21 on the ICE futures exchange.
Crude has dropped from $100 this week because of expectations Europe’s debt crisis will trigger a recession next year and undermine global oil consumption. However, the U.S. economy has shown evidence of growth the last few months.
The government said that applications for unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level since May 2008. While manufacturing output fell last month after six straight months of steady gains, a regional report on Thursday showed manufacturing activity is rising this month in the Philadelphia area.
“We look for the oil market to move into a choppy, consolidation phase into the holiday period now that the euro appears to have stabilized for now amid a fresh flow of supportive U.S. economic guidance,” energy consultant Ritterbusch and Associates said in a report.
In other energy trading on the Nymex, natural gas rose 1.7 cents to $3.14 per 1,000 cubic feet. Heating oil gained 0.8 cent to $2.84 a gallon and gasoline futures added 2.2 cents to $2.51 a gallon.