Oil near $87 amid Japan, China stimulus hopes

By AP Updated at 2012-12-17 09:12:35 +0000


BANGKOK (AP) — The price of oil rose to near $87 a barrel Monday in Asia as leaders in Japan and China, two of the world's biggest economies, raised the prospect of more economic stimulus that could boost demand for crude.

Benchmark oil for January delivery was up 18 cents to $86.91 a barrel at late afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract ended up 84 cents Friday at $86.73.

Weekend elections in Japan delivered a resounding victory to the Liberal Democratic Party, returning it to power after a three-year hiatus. Leader Shinzo Abe has called for aggressive steps to break Japan out of its 20-year economic decline.

China's new Communist Party leaders are promising reforms aimed at reducing reliance on exports and more spending if needed to prop up a shaky economic recovery. In the first statement of their economic goals since taking power in November, the new party leaders pledged continuity Sunday with long-term plans aimed at nurturing self-sustaining growth and raising incomes.

Brent crude was down 7 cents at $108.11 on the ICE futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline fell 0.1 cent to $2.66 a gallon.

— Heating oil rose 0.3 cent to $2.98 a gallon.

— Natural gas fell 3.2 cents to $3.282 per 1,000 cubic feet.