Oil prices were mixed in Asia Thursday, despite a sharp fall in US crude inventories adding to the mood of recovery in the world’s largest oil consumer, analysts said.
New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for February delivery, was up 11 cents to 90.41 dollars per barrel.
Brent North Sea crude for delivery in February was down five cents to 95.45 dollars.
Oil prices were supported by “better US economic data and a larger than expected 4.2 million barrel fall in US crude oil inventories last week,” the Commonwealth Bank of Australia said in a report.
The numbers, released by the US Department of Energy late Wednesday, were almost double analysts’ forecasts of a 2.2 million barrel drop.
Meanwhile, US private hiring and service sector growth numbers also beat analyst expectations and boosted confidence that the US economic recovery was on track.
Figures provided by private payrolls firm ADP showed the American private sector adding a seasonally adjusted 297,000 jobs in December, more than triple the number created in November and above consensus forecasts of 100,000 new hiring.
Separately, the Institute of Supply Management said its non-manufacturing index rose 2.1 points to 57.1 percent last month. Economists had predicted the index would see a more moderate rise to 55.7 percent.
Any figure above 50 signifies growth in the crucial sector.