Oil prices rebound on hopes of US recovery

Oil prices rebounded in Asian trade today on expectations of a steady recovery in the US, the world's top oil consumer.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for May delivery, added 68 cents to $80.68 a barrel, while London's Brent North Sea crude for May climbed 65 cents to $79.94 per barrel.

The Institute of Supply Management will release its index on US manufacturing growth Thursday and the Labor Department is scheduled to announce March employment data on Friday.

Analysts expect the US unemployment rate to remain at 9.7 per cent, despite an increase of about 200,000 jobs.

Last week, the US commerce department said the growth in US economy during the fourth quarter belie expectations. According to official figures, the US economy grew by an annualised 5.6 per cent between the October and December period, rather than the 5.9 per cent estimated earlier.

Consequently, the oil prices declined Friday.

For the whole of 2009, GDP fell at an unrevised 2.4 per cent.