Oil prices inched above $75 a barrel on Friday in Asia as investors set aside worries for now about the European debt crisis and focused on rising stock markets and improving economic data.
Benchmark crude for July delivery was up 51 cents at $75.06 a barrel at midmorning Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract on Thursday leapt $3.04 to settle at $74.55.
Earlier this month crude prices were as high as $87.15 a barrel, before they were dragged down by worries that Europe's debt crisis could undermine the global economic recovery.
The battered euro gained some strength against the dollar on Thursday. Oil is priced in dollars, so a stronger dollar makes it less appealing to holders of foreign currencies.
Some analysts think that oil was due to bounce back because it dropped so quickly. "Because the market was beaten down so fast it doesn't take that much to prop it up a little bit," PFGBest analyst Phil Flynn said.
Gains in U.S. and Asian stocks also boosted oil prices as did encouraging economic news. The government said Thursday that the U.S. economy grew at a 3 percent annual rate in the first quarter, albeit slower than initially thought. That came a day after strong reports on factory orders, housing and consumer confidence.
In other Nymex trading in June contracts, heating oil rose 0.5 cent to $2 a gallon, while gasoline was unchanged at $2.0389 a gallon. Natural gas was up 5.3 cents at $4.347 per 1,000 cubic feet. In London, the Brent crude July contact was up 8 cents to $74.74 on the ICE futures exchange.