Oil prices rose past US$89 a barrel, on gains in Asian equity markets. Light, sweet crude for March delivery moved up to US$89.15 a barrel in Asian electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange by midday in Singapore. In London, Brent crude futures rose to US$89.63 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.
Gains in global stock markets have helped thwart concerns of a possible U.S. recession that would stunt oil demand. The Dow Jones industrial average gained more than 0.7% on Friday as investors set aside concerns that of lost jobs in the US economy last month, and focused on Microsoft Corp.'s bid for Yahoo Inc. and a possible rescue plan for the troubled bond insurance sector. Asian stock markets moved up on improved market sentiment after Wall Street rose last week.
The contract dropped US$2.79 to settle at US$88.96 a barrel on Friday after the U.S. Labor Department reported that employers cut 17,000 jobs last month, the first reduction in more than four years and a sign that the economy continues to weaken. Spending on construction also fell by a record amount.