| GEO Business|
| Oil prices surge on hints of US recovery|
| Updated at: 0751 PST, Friday, July 24, 2009|
NEW YORK: Oil prices surged Thursday as a Wall Street stocks rally and rising US home sales fueled optimism that the world's biggest economy may be pulling out of its nosedive.
New York's main futures contract, light sweet crude for September, leapt 1.76 dollars to close at 67.16 dollars a barrel.
In London, Brent North Sea crude for September delivery spiked 2.04 dollars higher to settle at 69.25 dollars.
A stronger-than expected report on US home sales helped provide a catalyst for the market, spurring hopes of an economic rebound, said Bart Melek, an analyst at BMO Capital Markets.
US existing home sales rose for the third consecutive month in June, the National Association of Realtors reported.
"Housing may no longer be the weakest link," said Joel Naroff of Naroff Economic Advisors.
"Three consecutive months of rising sales provides hope that an upward trend is actually underway," he said.
A recovery in the collapsed housing market is considered key to a recovery from a steep recession in the world's largest energy consumer, and consequently to a rise in oil demand.