Oil prices continued to rise on Wednesday after a strong rally on previous trading day, as U.S. economic data provided solid support.
U.S. Commerce Department said that factory orders in Nov. rose 1.8 percent, lifted by strong aircraft orders. The upbeat data helped to stimulate investors'confidence on the U.S. economic recovery and supported the oil price.
However, news from Europe added new concerns about the euro zone debt crisis. Bank shares were dumped in European stock market as Spanish authorities are considering applying for loans from the International Monetary Fund and Europe's bailout fund.
The composite Purchasing Managers Index for the euro zone released on Wednesday rose to a three-month high of 48.3 in December. However, the figure was still in the contraction territory, suggesting weakness of the manufacturing activities in euro zone.
Light, sweet crude for February delivery rose 0.26 dollars, or 0.3 percent to settle at 103.22 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
In London, Brent crude for Feb. delivery also rose and last traded around 113.28 dollars a barrel, up 1 percent.