The price of crude oil rose in New York, reversing earlier losses, as gains in Asian stock markets sparked optimism the global economy will rebound and spur demand for fuel, Bloomberg reported.

Oil for September 2009 delivery increased as much as $0.53, or 0.8%, to $67.47 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and traded at $67.37 at 11.23am Singapore time. The contract earlier dropped 0.7% to $66.49 a barrel.

Today the MSCI Asia-Pacific Index increased 1.3% to its highest since 29 April and was set for its fifth monthly gain.

This followed a surge in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to a near nine-month high after better-than-expected earnings. Oil prices and the S&P 500 have had a correlation of 0.627 in the past two months, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Oil increased $3.59, or 5.7%, on July 30, to settle at $66.94, the biggest gain since 9 April. That followed a 5.8% drop on 29 July after a US Energy Department report showed an unexpected increase in crude inventories.

In this week prices are down 2.2%, heading for the first weekly drop since 10 July.

Oil inventories, expected by analysts to decline on recovering fuel demand, iincreased 5.15 million barrels to 347.8 million in the week ended 24 July.

Brent crude oil for September 2009 settlement increased as much as $0.44, or 0.6%, to $70.55 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures Europe exchange.

It was at $70.50 a barrel at 11.15am Singapore time. It earlier dropped as much as $0.44, or 0.6%, to $69.67 a barrel. On 30 July, it increased $3.58, or 5.4%, to settle at $70.11 a barrel.