Crude oil futures were trading near five-week highs during early European trading hours on Thursday, as Wednesday''s U.S. supply data continued to support prices.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light sweet crude futures for delivery in January traded at USD97.46 a barrel during European morning trade, up 0.27%.
The January contract settled up 1.21% on Wednesday to end at USD97.20 a barrel.
Oil futures were likely to find support at USD96.31 a barrel, Wednesday''s low and resistance at USD98.52 a barrel, the high from October 21.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report on Wednesday that U.S. crude oil inventories fell by 5.6 million barrels in the week ended November 29, compared to expectations for a decline of 500,000 barrels.
Total U.S. crude oil inventories stood at 385.8 million barrels.
The report also showed that total motor gasoline inventories increased by 1.8 million barrels, compared to expectations for a gain of 1.5 million barrels.
Traders have been concerned over rising U.S. inventories and increased production levels in recent weeks.
Investors were also eyeing the release of a U.S. economic growth data later Thursday as well as a jobs report on Friday, after a string of positive data over the week added to expectations the Federal Reserve will soon begin tapering its montly asset purchases.
Elsewhere, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agreed on Wednesday to keep its production target unchanged at 30 million barrels per day for the first half of 2014.
In addition, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said Iran will bring back production once sanctions are lifted, following an interim deal.
Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange, Brent oil futures for January delivery eased 0.03% to trade at USD111.86 a barrel, with the spread between the Brent and crude contracts standing at USD14.4 a barrel.
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