Oil prices cross US$80 in Asia on expectations of robust demand amid improving US economy

Oil prices have risen past US$80 a barrel in Asia, as demand for crude oil is expected to grow amid improving signs from the U.S. economy. A decline was reported in first-time claims for jobless benefits amid improvement in Chicago region manufacturing activity. The government Thursday also raised its Q2 estimate of gross domestic product growth to 1.7% from 1.6%. As USA imported less oil and refiners trimmed utilisation rates, a fall of 500,000 barrels in crude inventories was reported by EAI. The previous day saw oil prices drop on announcement of new measures adopted by China to bring down high property prices dampened sentiments in the oil markets amid a report showing US oil and fuel inventories declined last week. Sweet crude futures for delivery in November traded at US$77.6 on the Nymex, while Brent crude on London's ICE Futures exchange dipped to US$80.5.
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