NEW YORK, July 12 (Xinhua) -- Crude prices ended higher on Thursday thanks to a late session surge despite concerns over global economy continued to put a lid on market sentiment.
Oil prices went lower in early trading after the International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasted that global oil demand should rise this year, but the increase will be less than what it predicted a month ago. According to the IEA, market fundamentals had "clearly eased since the start of the year" and oil stocks had built up significantly over the last few months.
A global economic slowdown could put a lid on oil prices but there is a risk "nasty supply surprises" could reignite a market rally, the IEA said on Thursday.
Also contributed to early losses, the euro fell to a fresh two- year low against the U.S. dollar on concern that Europe's economy is weakening. A stronger dollar was a negative for oil futures as it made the greenback-priced commodities less attractive.
Meanwhile, investors were cautiously awaiting China to release its newest gross domestic product data on Friday, which was expected to show the weakest expansion in three years.
However, some investors believed that if China's GDP data came in not good, there will be an economic stimulus program which will support oil prices.
Futures staged a strong rebound in afternoon trading after the U.S. announced further sanctions against Iran on Thursday, saying it will target Iran's weapons proliferation networks and "front companies" helping to evade international sanctions.
Data showed that Iranian oil production had already reduced to the record low of 3.2 million barrels a day due to sanctions from the western countries.
Light, sweet crude for August delivery rose 0.27 dollars, or 0. 3 percent to settle at 86.08 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
In London, Brent crude for August delivery also went higher and last traded at about 101 dollars a barrel.