Oil up in Asian trade

Oil prices rose for a fourth consecutive day in Asia Thursday on a sharp slump in crude stockpiles, a strengthening greenback and forecasts of cold weather in the United States, analysts said.

New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in February, gained six cents to $91.92 a barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for February delivery was up 24 cents to $98.36.

“Crude oil prices rose, reflecting the weaker US dollar, a larger than forecast increase in US crude oil stocks and expectations for stronger heating oil demand as blizzards hit the northeast US states,” the Commonwealth Bank of Australia said in a report.

The US Department of Energy reported late Wednesday that crude stockpiles sank by 2.2 million barrels last week. The decline was sharper than expected, suggesting stronger demand.

Dollar-priced crude was also benefiting from a strengthening greenback against the euro, with the European currency fetching $1.3121 in early Asian trade compared with $1.3128 in New York late Wednesday.

A second snow storm that slammed into northeastern US states and forced hundreds of flights to be cancelled and postponed in New York’s airports was also pushing crude prices up as more people used energy for heating.