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Crude up in Asia on cold weather, Chinese energy demand

by Staff Writers
Singapore (AFP) Dec 22, 2010
Brent crude prices reached new two-year highs in Asian trade Wednesday as oil continued rallying on cold weather and bullish energy demand from China, analysts said.

Brent North Sea crude for February delivery rose 29 cents to 93.49 dollars per barrel -- its highest level since October 2008.

The contract had closed at 93.20 dollars on Tuesday after setting a two-year high in intraday trade.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in February gained 11 cents to 89.93 dollars.

"Oil prices remain supported on cold weather and strong demand indications, with Chinese oil demand, along with gasoline, diesel and jet fuel demand, surging to record highs in November," Barclays Capital said in a report.

Icy weather across Europe and northeastern US states -- which forecasters said would last till the end of the year -- would lift crude prices as demand for heating oil increased.

Final Chinese oil consumption data for November released Tuesday also showed the world's biggest energy consumer's use "at a record high of 9.33 mb/d (million barrels per day)," the Barclays Capital report stated.

The level was "up a phenomenal 1.145 mb/d (14 percent) y/y (year-on-year), the strongest y/y growth rate since February this year," it added.

"Q4 (The fourth quarter) has seen an acceleration of Chinese oil demand growth once again... To state that Chinese oil demand has surprised to the upside this year is a no-brainer, but we have a strong suspicion that upside surprises and the resultant global demand upgrades have not yet run their full course," the report said.

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