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SINGAPORE, June 3, 2010 (AFP)
Oil prices soared in Asian trade Thursday after positive US economic data sparked a rally in global stock markets, analysts said.

New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in July rose 1.34 dollars to 74.20 dollars a barrel while London’s Brent North Sea crude for July was up 1.20 dollars to 74.95 dollars.

“The market is really tracking the stronger economic news coming out of the United States,” said Jason Feer, vice president and general manager with energy market analysts Argus Media.

“Every time you get some good economic news from the US and some of the other major economies, oil has a tendency to follow it up on the assumption that a recovery in economic growth will lead to stronger demand for oil,” he told AFP.

Robust US home and auto sales reports boosted Wall Street and lifted oil prices on Wednesday.

Pending US home sales rose for the third consecutive month in April while American car companies reported double-digit jumps in sales in May.

The robust economic data triggered a surge on Wall Street, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumping 225.90 points, or 2.25 percent, to finish at 10,249.92 on Wednesday.

The tech-rich Nasdaq index climbed 58.74 points, or 2.64 percent, to 2,281.07 and the S&P 500 index, a broader measure of the market, advanced 27.67 points, or 2.58 percent, to 1,098.38.

Asian stock markets were up Thursday led by Japanese shares which closed 3.24 percent higher, while Hong Kong shares surged 1.84 percent by the break.

Feer said, however, that the demand and supply outlook for oil remains weighed down by high levels of inventories.

“Stocks (of oil) in the US are still way above normal so that should still be pretty bearish for the market,” he said.

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