SINGAPORE–Oil prices rose above US$85 a barrel Friday in Asia as investors looked to a slew of U.S. economic indicators due later in the day for signs about the strength of the world’s largest economy. Benchmark crude for November delivery was 97 cents at US$85.14 a barrel at late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell US$1.34 to settle at US$84.23 in New York on Thursday. Brent crude was down 59 cents at US$111.70 a barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange in London. In other Nymex trading, heating oil rose 1.4 cents at US$2.99 per gallon and gasoline futures gained 0.8 cent to US$2.70 per gallon. Natural gas fell 1.5 cents to US$3.52 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Crude has wandered most of this week in the mid-US$80s after jumping from US$75 last week amid investor optimism Europe will soon unveil a plan to contain its debt crisis.