SINGAPORE – Oil prices briefly rose above $80 a barrel Tuesday in Asia as better-than-expected U.S. corporate earnings boosted investor confidence.
Benchmark crude for November delivery rose as much as 44 cents to $80.05 a barrel but later fell back and was down 27 cents at $79.34 by late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.08 to settle at $79.61 on Monday.
Crude did a chin-up over $80 a barrel for the first time this year after Apple Inc. and Texas Instruments Inc. reported third quarter earnings Monday that beat analyst forecasts. Caterpillar Inc., Coca-Cola Co. and DuPont are scheduled to report later Tuesday.
Crude demand has remained sluggish this year as the global economy recovers from recession. With the U.S. Federal Reserve keeping interest rates at near zero percent, investors have flocked to stocks and commodities to make money.
"This rally isn't based on fundamentals. It's about risk appetite," said Jonathan Kornafel, Asia director for market maker Hudson Capital Energy in Singapore. "Money is looking for some kind of return."
In other Nymex trading, heating oil was steady at $2.05 a gallon. Gasoline for November delivery held at $1.99 a gallon. Natural gas for November delivery jumped 8.1 cents to $4.92 per 1,000 cubic feet.
In London, Brent crude for December delivery fell 24 cents to $77.53 on the ICE Futures exchange.