Oil prices edged higher in Asian trade today as dealers await long-delayed US economic data for clues about the health of the world's largest crude consumer, analysts said.
New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in November, was up 10 cents at USD 100.91 a barrel in mid-morning trade, while Brent North Sea crude for December climbed 12 cents to USD 110.06.
The US economic data that came out before the shutdown was quite lacklustre, and people will be watching this week's numbers to see whether they should go back into risk assets," Kelly Teoh, market strategist at IG Markets in Singapore, told AFP.
A slew of US economic data delayed by the 16-day US government shutdown will be released this week.
The US September jobs report out tomorrow will be particularly in focus as investors try to get an idea of when the Federal Reserve will start to reel in its USD 85 billion-a-month bond-buying scheme.
The stimulus programme has been credited with fuelling a global equities rally for most of the year. The Fed said in September that it would not wind down the programme if there was no broad improvement in the economy.
Singapore's DBS Bank warned investors not to brush off the US figures out this week solely because they are outdated.
"This would be a mistake," it said in a note to investors. "The shutdown didn't do the economy any favours but the US had plenty of problems in the run-up to October."
It added: "The September data are no less relevant today than they would have been two weeks ago, government shutdown notwithstanding."