Oil prices have risen following three days of declines, as stocks advanced and an industry report showed a fall in US gasoline inventories, Bloomberg reported.

Crude oil for August 2009 delivery rose as much as $0.74, or 1.2%, to $60.26 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The contract was at $60.13 at 12.11pm Singapore time. Yesterday it dropped to $59.52, the lowest settlement since 18 May. Prices have dropped 59% from a record $147.27 reached on 11 July 2008.

Oil rose from an eight-week low after the American Petroleum Institute (API) said that gasoline supplies fell 69,000 barrels last week.

Asian stocks gained for a second day after US stocks advanced on better-than-estimated retail sales, bolstering hopes that a recovering economy will increase fuel demand.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.7% to 101.21 at 11.54am in Tokyo. The gauge has rallied 43% from a more than five-year low on 9 March amid optimism that government stimulus policies will revive the global economy.

A 15 July report from the US Energy Department is expected to confirm that stockpiles gained for a fifth week, according to analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News.

The Energy Department report will probably show that gasoline supplies increased 875,000 barrels in the week ended 10 July as per the median of 14 responses in the Bloomberg News survey.

Opec said that worldwide daily crude oil consumption would rise by 500,000 barrels, or 0.6%, to 84.3 million in 2010 as industrial production gradually picks up after this year’s recession.

The International Energy Agency forecast in a July report that global demand would rise by 1.4 million barrels a day, or 1.7%, to 85.2 million in 2010.

Brent crude for August 2009 settlement increased as much as $0.74, or 1.2%, to $61.60 on London’s ICE Futures Europe Exchange, and traded at $61.35 at 11.20am Singapore time.