Oil prices up in Asian trade

 New York's main futures contract, light sweet crude for delivery in August, climbed 32 cents to USD 64.30. The August contract will expire later today.

Brent North Sea crude for September delivery rose eight cents to USD 66.52.
Analysts said traders were capitalising on positive economic sentiment leading to the surge in oil prices.

"Traders seem to be daring to take a risk as economic optimism comes storming back," said Phil Flynn of PFG Best Research.

Another analyst pegged the uptrend in oil to recent rallies on Wall Street. "I still think the stock market is still the biggest driver of the oil market," said Ellis Eckland, an independent trader.

However, Eckland warned that the fundamentals of oil were still weak. "Unemployment continues to rise, inventories are still very high in North America, and demand is weak this summer," he said.

Meanwhile, traders were paying attention to developments in Iran, where disputed election results threatened the stability of the oil-producing nation. 

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