- POSTED: 15 Jan 2014 04:49
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US oil prices rose on Tuesday on solid retail sales data ahead of a US oil supply report that is expected to show a drop in crude inventories.
NEW YORK: US oil prices rose on Tuesday on solid retail sales data ahead of a US oil supply report that is expected to show a drop in crude inventories.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery in February rose 79 cents to close at $92.59 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
European benchmark Brent crude for February delivery fell 36 cents to $106.39 a barrel in London trade.
The rise in US oil prices came after the US Commerce Department said December retail sales showed a 0.2 percent increase during the critical holiday shopping period, better than the flat sales expected.
Retail sales are part of the consumer spending that is the prime driver of the US economy, the world's biggest crude consumer.
Analysts said crude prices were positioned for a rally after a steep sell-off in recent sessions. US prices fell from $100.32 a barrel on December 27 to $91.80 on Monday.
There has been a "fairly sizable decline in the price of crude oil since the beginning of the year," said David Bouckhout, senior commodity strategist at TD Securities.
"Some buyers are coming in to take advantage of the lower price level."
Andy Lebow, senior vice president for energy derivatives at Jefferies Bache, said traders are also geared up for Wednesday's weekly report on US oil inventories.
Analysts forecast a decline of 800,000 barrels of crude, according to a survey by the Wall Street Journal.
Meanwhile, Brent oil has been under pressure from the partial restoration of Libyan oil, which analysts say is back to about 650,000 barrels a day after getting as low as 250,000 in the wake of political protests.
Analysts say the weekend nuclear agreement between Iran and the United States, China and other powers has also weighed on oil prices. An easing of sanctions on Iran could enable higher crude output from the country.