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SINGAPORE, June 17, 2011 (AFP)
Oil rose in Asian trade Friday on positive economic data from the United States, the world’s biggest oil consumer, analysts said.

New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) light sweet crude for July delivery, rose 25 cents to $95.20 a barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for August gained four cents to $114.06.

“US crude futures rose in choppy trading, recouping some of the previous day’s sharp losses after the International Energy Agency forecast a steep rise in demand,” said a Phillip Futures report.

The IEA, in its monthly report Thursday, raised its global oil demand forecast for 2011 by 0.1 million barrels per day to 89.3 million barrels.

A predicted rise in demand hinted at a recovering US economy, which requires crude oil to fuel its industries, leading to higher prices.

New US claims for unemployment benefits fell to 414,000 in the week ending June 11, a decline of four percent from the previous week, and US housing starts grew more than expected in May, rebounding 3.5 percent from April.

“However, the gain was limited due to the rising tension over a planned rescue of Greece, amid worries of wider fallout,” the IEA report added.

Dealers have been rattled by the failure of eurozone finance ministers to reach an deal on a second bailout package aimed at averting a Greek debt default, which could plunge financial markets into crisis.

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