Oil prices have risen, racing towards US$86 in Asian trade, as demand gets optimistic amid signs of a global economic upswing. New York's light sweet crude for delivery in May rose to US$85.7 while Brent North Sea crude for May rose to US$84.73. The optimism was triggered by upbeat economic data, including US jobs report, which showed the biggest growth in three years, a report showing the US manufacturing sector grew at a faster pace than expected and a government report that said Chinese manufacturing picked up in March. Manufacturing in the eurozone also defied forecasts in March, with a key index hitting a 40-month high.
Oil spiked to an 18-month high to US$84.4 in New York on Thursday, with talk of fresh investor inflows at the start of the new quarter. The move higher came despite a stronger dollar, which often dampens enthusiasm for commodities, and after news of yet another build in US crude oil inventories. Continued signals of strength in the manufacturing industry helped extend a recent rally. Oil prices have risen about 23% from early February as the industrial sector leads a gradual recovery in the US economy.