Oil prices rose above $67 a barrel Wednesday in Asia despite an increase in U.S. crude inventories for a third week, which suggests consumer demand remains weak.
Benchmark crude for November deliver was up 42 cents at $67.13 by midday in Singapore in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 13 cents to settle at $66.71 on Tuesday.
U.S. oil inventories rose last week, the American Petroleum Institute said late Tuesday. Crude stocks increased 2.8 million barrels while analysts had expected a jump of 2.1 million barrels, according to a survey by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.
``There's no doubt that we still have very high levels of inventories, and that's probably going to prevent oil from breaking above $75,'' said Christoffer Moltke-Leth, head of sales trading at Saxo Capital Markets in Singapore.
Oil has traded between $65 and $75 for months as investors mull the strength of a global recovery from recession. Crude bounced off the $65 level earlier this week.
``The support we saw at $65 was quite significant,'' Moltke-Leth said. ``The hope for recovery is still pretty strong, and that's what's holding prices up.''
In other Nymex trading, heating oil was steady at $1.70 a gallon. Gasoline for October delivery held at $1.63 a gallon.
In London, Brent crude rose 34 cents to $65.83 the ICE Futures exchange.