| GEO Business|
| Oil prices higher in Asian trade|
| Updated at: 1305 PST, Tuesday, December 15, 2009|
SINGAPORE: Oil prices were higher in Asia Tuesday on a stronger regional demand picture, but gains were limited as relatively high US oil inventories continued to weigh on sentiment, dealers said.
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for January delivery gained 21 cents to 69.72 dollars a barrel in the afternoon.
Brent North Sea crude for January delivery was up 20 cents to 72.09 dollars.
Strengthening demand in Asia was supporting prices, DBS Group Research said in a report. "Asia is now growing again and fundamental demand for oil is putting pressure on prices," it said.
Investment demand for crude "is on the rise too, adding another dimension to the upward push," it stated.
Demand from emerging economies such as China was a particular factor in "limiting the downside" for oil, according to Toby Hassall, research analyst for CWA Global Markets in Sydney.