Oil rises on better economic sentiment

Oil prices jumped Tuesday on signs of stronger economic growth in Europe and fresh economic stimulus measures announced by the Japanese central bank.

The price of a barrel of US benchmark West Texas Intermediate rose 68 cents to settle at $96.24 a barrel.

A barrel of Brent futures traded in London closed 71 cents higher at $112.42 a barrel.

A survey published on Tuesday showed that German investor sentiment has struck the highest levels since the start of the eurozone debt crisis in 2010 as the outlook for Europe's top economy continues to brighten.

Analysts Tuesday described a greater embrace of the market of so-called "risk-on" trading after the Bank of Japan announced a stimulus program comparable to the US Federal Reserve's plan.

The Bank of Japan on Tuesday adopted a two-percent inflation target and issued plans for indefinite monetary easing in a policy shift that Japan's new premier hailed as "epoch making."

The moves -- set out in a rare joint statement by the central bank with the government -- followed stern calls from the country's new administration led by Shinzo Abe to become more aggressive in kick-starting the nation's anemic economy.

"Crude is seeing support today on news overnight from the Bank of Japan that it plans open-ended asset purchases to start in January 2014 to stimulate its economy," said Brian Swan, an analyst with Schneider Electric.

Oil prices also received support following approval of a revised Keystone XL pipeline route by the governor of the US state of Nebraska, which was seen as giving the controversial project a boost. The project still needs approval from the US State Department.

The move is "another step to the hopes that the pipeline will be approved," said David Bouckhout, analyst at TD Securities. "That would help alleviate a lot of the supply situation."

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