SINGAPORE — Oil prices rose above US$88 a barrel Monday in Asia, extending a two-week rally as improved U.S. retail sales added to hopes that the world’s biggest economy will avoid a recession this year. Benchmark crude for November delivery was up US$1.26 at US$88.06 a barrel at late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose US$2.57 to settle at US$86.80 in New York on Friday. Brent crude was up US$0.46 at US$112.69 a barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange in London.
In other Nymex trading, heating oil rose US$0.036 to US$3.08 per gallon and gasoline futures gained US$0.031 to US$2.80 per gallon. Natural gas added US$0.037 to US$3.74 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Crude has jumped about 17 percent from US$75 earlier this month amid growing optimism that European leaders will unveil a convincing plan next week to contain the region’s debt crisis.