Oil rises above US$96
The price of oil closed at a four-month high Tuesday as global economic reports point to improving conditions.
Benchmark oil rose 68 cents to US$96.24 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil has risen nearly US$3 a barrel over the last four trading sessions.
A United States (US) government report showed that last year was the best year for US home sales since 2007 and analysts expect further improvement this year. Meanwhile, German investor confidence saw an unexpectedly large jump in a new survey.
The Bank of Japan's announcement of more bond purchases next year also buoyed oil prices.
Brent crude, used to price international varieties of oil, was up 71 cents to US$112.42 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
In other energy futures trading in New York: natural gas fell about one cent to US$3.55 per 1,000 cubic feet and heating oil rose two cents to US$3.07 a gallon.