Oil prices up in Asia


Oil prices climbed in Asian trade Tuesday, bolstered by continued unrest in the Middle East and North Africa and robust Chinese demand, analysts said.

New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for March delivery, was up 24 cents to $85.05 per barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in April advanced 13 cents to $103.21.

“Unrest in the Middle East could provide some support to crude oil prices,” said Ong Yi Ling, investment analyst for Phillip Futures in Singapore.

Crude markets had been supported by supply concerns in the Middle East as demonstrators in various Arab states drew inspiration from pro-democracy protests leading to the ouster of leaders in Tunisia and Egypt.

Unrest has followed in Iran, Yemen and Bahrain.

Robust Chinese crude demand has also helped support crude prices.

“China crude oil imports rose 27 percent from a year ago,” Ong told AFP.

Chinese data released Monday showed the world’s largest energy consumer importing 5.13 million barrels of crude per day for the month of January 2011.