Investing.com - Crude futures rose on Friday after U.S. housing data beat expectations, while concerns a deal to reopen Libyan oilfields will collapse also bolstered prices.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude oil for delivery in June traded at $102.07 a barrel during U.S. trading, up 0.56%. New York-traded oil futures hit a session low of $101.40 a barrel and a high of $102.23 a barrel.
The June contract settled up 0.85% at $101.50 a barrel on Thursday.
Nymex oil futures were likely to find support at $101.28 a barrel, Thursday''s low, and resistance at $102.64 a barrel, Wednesday''s high.
The Census Bureau reported that U.S. building permits rose 8% to 1.080 million units last month, up from an upwardly revised 1.000 million in March. Analysts were expecting building permits to rise to 1.010 million units in April, and the better-than-expected figure boosted oil by painting a picture of a more robust U.S. economy.
The report also showed that housing starts rose to 1.072 million units in April, from 947,000 in March, whose figure was revised up from a previously estimated 946,000. Analysts had expected building starts to rise to 980,000 units last month.
Separately, concerns that a deal between the Libyan government and armed protestors to open oilfields appeared to crumble this week, which pressured crude prices higher.
Armed protestors have closed access to key Libyan oilfields, bringing the country''s production to 200,000 barrels of oil a day from 1.4 million produced last year.
Elsewhere, investors continued to track developments in Ukraine, as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned Russia it faced broader economic and sector-related sanctions if it meddled in Ukraine''s presidential elections on May 25.
Russia is the world''s second-largest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia, and concerns have persisted that the conflict will escalate and disrupt Russian crude shipments.
Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil futures for July delivery were up 0.55% and trading at US$109.69 a barrel, while the spread between the Brent and U.S. crude contracts stood at US$7.62 a barrel.
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