Oil prices up in Asia

SINGAPORE: Oil prices rose in Asia Tuesday as dealers await the release of a batch of US economic data for clues on whether the Federal Reserve will speed up its timetable for raising interest rates, analysts said.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for October delivery rose 20 cents to $93.55 while Brent crude for October gained 13 cents $102.78 in late-morning trade.

Data on US durable goods orders in July, the 20-city Case-Shiller home price index for June, as well the Conference Board’s reading of consumer confidence for August are set to be released later Tuesday.

Revised US gross domestic product figures for the second quarter of the year are out on Thursday.

Analysts said the data will be pored over for clues on how well the world’s biggest economy is faring and when the Fed will hike interest rates.

Fed chairman Janet Yellen last week signalled her commitment to raising rates late next year, but market watchers say robust US economic data could shorten the central bank’s timetable.

“The Fed’s expectations are still data dependent,” Singapore’s DBS Bank said in a note. “Tonight’s US durable goods and consumer confidence will be closely watched,” it said.

“Close attention will also be paid on how much the advance estimate for Q2 GDP growth will be revised down.”

The oil market is continuing to monitor geopolitical tensions in crude producers Iraq and Libya as well as Ukraine, a key conduit for Russian gas exports to Europe.

“Support from geopolitical tensions in Ukraine and Libya have countered ample supplies and anticipated weak demand,” Singapore’s United Overseas Bank said in a note.