Oil hovered little changed near a six-month high above $62 a barrel on Wednesday, as a jump in U.S. consumer confidence buoyed hopes that the global economy was on its way to recovery and demand for oil would rise.
Oil gained over 1 percent on Tuesday, bolstered by the U.S. data and comments from OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia that prices may continue to rise.
U.S. crude oil for July delivery edged down 6 cents to $62.39 a barrel by 0215 GMT, after having touched $62.95 in early trade. The contract settled at $62.45 a barrel on Tuesday -- its highest close since November 5.
London Brent crude fell 4 cents to $61.20.
Oil is being supported by the U.S. consumer confidence data, said David Moore, a commodities analyst at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
U.S. consumer confidence posted its biggest monthly jump in six years and rose in May to its highest level in eight months, jumping to 54.9 in May from a revised 40.8 in April, the Conference Board said, giving hopes of improvement in the U.S. and the global economy.
Reinforcing market views that the worst of the global economic crisis may be over, Japan's exports showed modest signs of recovery in April with shipments to China declining at a slower pace than a year earlier.
Asian stocks, tracking Wall Street's rally, opened higher on Wednesday, with Japan's Nikkei average gaining 1.5 percent and Hong Kong shares expected to open 2.4 percent higher.
Expectations of a further drawdown in U.S. crude inventories also lent support to prices, analysts said.
A preliminary Reuters poll ahead of U.S. weekly inventory data showed forecasts for a 1.1 million drawdown in crude stocks and a 1.8 million decline in gasoline stocks last week.
Data from the American Petroleum Institute data will be delayed one day until Wednesday while U.S. Energy Information Administration oil inventory data will be released on Thursday due to the U.S. Memorial Day holiday on Monday.
Oil prices are now double the four-year low of around $33 struck in December, as rallying equity markets sparked hopes that recent government stimulus measures will hasten the speed of a global economic recovery.
Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi told journalists ahead of Thursday's OPEC meeting he hoped oil prices would hit $75 a barrel later this year.
OPEC, which have already cut production by 4.2 million barrels per day since September, is expected to leave output levels unchanged at its meeting in Vienna on expectations prices will continue to rise despite swollen stockpiles and slumping demand.
With a host of key economic data on the tap later today, analysts said any negative surprises would pose the largest downside risk for oil prices, which have jumped about 21 percent so far this month.
Economic data expected from the U.S. include weekly mortgage market index, weekly retail sales and home sales in April.
(Reporting by Fayen Wong; Editing by Kim Coghill)