• Oil prices higher in Asia

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    Oil prices rose in Asian trade on Tuesday on robust US crude demand, analysts said, but buying enthusiasm was capped by weaker economic data from the world’s biggest economy.

    New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in September, was up 22 cents at $107.16 a barrel, while Brent North Sea crude for September rose 15 cents to $108.30.

    WTI reached a 16-month high of $109.32 a barrel on Friday—topping the price of Brent for the first time since August 16, 2010.

    “US crude supplies are holding prices up with traders expecting inventories at a six-month low,” said Kelly Teoh, market strategist at IG Markets in Singapore.

    But she added that weaker US economic data and corporate earnings missing their targets were limiting gains and keeping WTI prices at around $107 a barrel.

    The National Association of Realtors said US home sales fell 1.2 percent to an annual rate of 5.08 million in June, from a downwardly revised 5.15 million in May. The average analyst estimate was for a rise to a 5.28 million pace in June.

    On the corporate front McDonald’s became the latest to miss earnings expectations after last week’s unimpressive results from Coca-Cola, Google and Microsoft.

    Robust US fuel demand has been a key factor in supporting oil prices, with the country still in the summer driving season when Americans take to the roads for their holidays. AFP

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