Oil traded at more than $70 a barrel for the first time in a month on the assumption that fuel demand may rise, as equities in Asia gained for a third day amid signs the global economy is recovering from recession, Bloomberg reported.

Crude oil for September 2009 delivery gained as much as $0.66, or 1%, to $70.11 a barrel in after-hours electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

It was traded at $70.03 a barrel at 11.32am in Singapore.

Oil increased ahead of a manufacturing index due on 3 August 2009 in the US, revealing that conditions in July 2009 were the best in almost a year. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index increased with factory output in China.

The contract added 3.8% to $69.45 a barrel on 31 July, the highest settlement since 30 June after the dollar declined and a report showed the US economy shrank less than forecast in the second quarter. Futures are up 57% in 2009.

Oil prices have advanced the past three weeks, aided by gains in US equities, a slide in the dollar and signs of stability in the global economy.

Brent crude oil for September 2009 settlement increased as much as $0.78, or 1.1%, to $72.48 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures Europe exchange. It was traded at $72.40 a barrel at 11.36am Singapore time.