- Crude prices edged lower on Friday after U.S. home sales missed expectations, while forecasts for a thawing trend over the next couple of days softened prices as well.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in April traded at $102.38 a barrel during U.S. trading, down 0.36%. New York-traded oil futures hit a session low of $101.71 a barrel and a high of $102.95 a barrel.

The April contract settled down 0.09% at $102.75 a barrel on Thursday.

Nymex oil futures were likely to find support at $101.71 a barrel, the earlier low, and resistance at $103.28 a barrel, Wednesday''s high.

The National Association of Realtors reported earlier that U.S. existing home sales declined 5.1% to 4.62 million units last month, outpacing expectations for a 4.3% drop to 4.68 million units.

In December, existing home sales were revised to a 0.8% rise to 487 million units from an initially estimated 1% increase.

While poor weather played a factor, the data sent oil prices falling on concerns economic headwinds will cool demand for fuel and energy even if prompted by weather.

Forecasts for a thawing trend to settle over the blizzard-weary eastern U.S. softened prices as well, though longer-range forecasts calling for a return of cold air next week cushioned losses as did protests and political instability Libya, South Sudan and Venezuela.

Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil futures for April delivery were down 0.35% and trading at US$109.92 a barrel, while the spread between the Brent and U.S. crude contracts stood at US$7.54 a barrel.

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