Oil rose on Friday on optimism a turnaround in the global economy would lift battered fuel demand.
U.S. crude traded up 24 cents to $67.40 a barrel by 12:35 p.m. EDT after trading up to $67.68 earlier, the highest intra-day since July 2. London Brent crude rose 38 cents to $69.63 a barrel.
The market is continuing to feel the strength of economic optimism from the greater financial markets, said Gene McGillian, analyst for Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.
I think the strength of the rally is derived mainly from the idea that as we enter the end of this year and early next year, further economic gains will kick demand back in.
Hopes for a rebound in the economy and demand have helped lift crude off lows below $33 a barrel hit in December, after slumping demand knocked oil from record highs near $150 hit in July 2008.
Europe produced a raft of survey reports on Friday that suggested the worst of the recession may have passed by mid-year and that industrial output has started to stabilize.
However, U.S. consumer confidence waned in late July to the lowest reading since April on growing pessimism about the long-term economic outlook, the Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers showed.
The U.S. data, along with disappointing results from Microsoft
Top oil services provider Schlumberger Ltd
Chief Executive Officer Andrew Gould said energy price volatility made it hard for his clients to commit to spending since they would not see any cash flow increase next year unless oil prices rose above their current range of $60 to $70 a barrel.
Sixty is OK, but it is not going to lead to a rash of activity, whereas I think $70 might be a lot more encouraging, Gould told analysts on a conference call.
(Reporting by Matthew Robinson and Robert Gibbons in New York; Ikuko Kurahone in London; Jennifer Tan in Singapore; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)