Global oil prices rebounded yesterday, in line with buoyant stock markets, as sentiment was bolstered by upbeat earnings, encouraging data and escalating unrest in Syria, analysts said.
Brent North Sea crude for delivery in September rallied 92 cents to $104.92 a barrel in late afternoon deals in London.
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for August gained 40 cents to $89.62 a barrel.
European and US stock markets jumped higher on Wednesday as investors drew comfort from recent company results and economic data, and waited for more testimony on the US economy from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.
At the same time, crude futures won support from worsening violence in Syria, stoking concerns over supplies from the Middle East.
"Equity markets appear to be focussing on the positives today as earnings reports predominantly come out on the positive side," CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson told AFP.
Syria is minor oil player in the Middle East and produced just 160,000 barrels per day in June, according to the most recent IEA data.
Traders meanwhile shrugged off news of a smaller-than-expected decline in crude inventories in the United States, which is the world's top consumer.
The US government's Energy Information Administration (EIA) revealed yesterday that American crude oil inventories sank by 800,000 in the week ending July 13.
Expectations had been for a larger decline of 1.1 million barrels, according to analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires. A smaller-than-expected drop indicates weak demand and tends to dent prices.
Oil prices had fallen in earlier trade after Bernanke on Tuesday gave a bleak forecast on jobs and growth in the United States and did not signal that fresh economic stimulus was on the way.