| GEO Business|
| Oil up in volatile trade, stays above $82|
| Updated at: 0908 PST, Tuesday, March 30, 2010|
SINGAPORE: Oil prices were higher in volatile Asian trade Tuesday as the market pared recent gains ahead of a weekly report on US energy stockpiles, analysts said.
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in May, was up seven cents to 82.24 dollars a barrel.
Brent North Sea crude for May rose 10 cents to 81.27 dollars per barrel.
"The market has been zig-zagging between just under 80 dollars and up to 83 so I think we're caught in a range at the moment," said Tony Nunan, an energy risk manager with Mitsubishi Corp in Tokyo.
"We've been in sideways trading for a while and I think the market focus will be on the inventory data which is expected to be bearish partly because we're entering the second quarter of the demand period."
The US Department of Energy will release its weekly US oil inventories report Wednesday indicating the extent of demand in the world's largest energy consumer.
Oil prices rose sharply Monday as the New York contract climbed 2.17 dollars on the back of a weak US dollar and rising stock markets as well as concerns after deadly suicide attacks on packed metro trains in Moscow.
The market is also awaiting upcoming data this week that many analysts said would show an improving jobs situation in the United States, which is reeling from a near double digit unemployment crisis.
Most analysts forecast nonfarm payroll in March to add 200,000 jobs -- compared with 36,000 job losses in February -- partly due to temporary hiring for the Census Bureau to conduct a massive census exercise.
US employment data is being closely watched worldwide because American consumers are a major driver for global growth.