Investing.com - West Texas Intermediate oil futures ticked higher on Tuesday, as stronger than expected U.S. data on new home sales and consumer confidence boosted demand for growth-linked assets.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude oil for delivery in August inched up 0.07%, or 7 cents, to trade at $106.25 a barrel during U.S. morning hours. Prices traded in a range between $105.28 and $106.38 a barrel.
Data released earlier showed that new home sales soared by 18.6% to hit a six-year high of 504,000 units in May, blowing past expectations for a gain of 1.6% to 440,000.
At the same time, the Conference Board said its index of consumer confidence rose to a six-year high of 85.2 in June from a reading of 82.2 in May. Analysts expected the index to rise to 83.5 in June.
The robust data underlined the view that the U.S. economy was regaining traction after being slowed by unusually cold temperatures during the winter months.
Market players now looked ahead to key U.S. weekly supply data due later in the day to gauge the strength of oil demand from the world’s largest consumer.
The American Petroleum Institute will release its inventories report later Tuesday, while Wednesday’s government report could show crude stockpiles fell by 1.3 million barrels in the week ended June 20.
Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil for August delivery added 0.22%, or 26 cents, to trade at $114.38 a barrel.
Concerns about ongoing violence in Iraq lingered, as Sunni tribes joined a militant takeover of northern Iraq.
However, oil prices have failed to break higher as the fighting in Iraq has yet to spread to the southern part of the country, which is home to more than 80% of Iraq’s oil output.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has agreed to a July 1 deadline to create a new government, a step required by Washington if Baghdad receives U.S. assistance in battling the insurgents.
Iraq produced approximately 3.5 million barrels a day of oil last month, making it OPEC’s second-biggest oil producer behind Saudi Arabia.
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