Oil prices edged higher from six-week lows, supported by gains in Asian stock markets, although worries over the U.S. and global economies following a global equities sell-off last week kept a lid on prices.
"There are concerns that the global equities sell-off may not be over and that may impact economic growth and thus oil demand," said Victor Shum of Purvin & Gertz in Singapore. "These concerns and worries about the state of the U.S. economy have taken some momentum out of the oil market."
Light, sweet crude for April delivery rose 12 cents to US$57.23 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange mid-afternoon in Singapore.
The contract fell to a six-week low to US$57.11 a barrel, down 44 cents, after Wall Street slumped last Friday. But stock markets in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Australia rose Monday.
"I think once the worries are over the focus will be back on oil demand," Shum said. "Oil demand remains good. We don't see any slack in Asian oil demand."
Brent crude contract for April rose 26 cents to US$60.56 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
A weekend winter storm in the northeastern United States, a major consumer of heating oil and gasoline, may have contributed to higher prices Monday, but analysts said that with winter coming to an end, traders are turning their attention to spring and summer demand, reports AP.
In other Nymex trading, heating oil futures gained 0.66 cents to US$1.6954 a gallon (3.8 liters) while natural gas prices fell 3.5 cents to US$6.889 per 1,000 cubic feet.
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