Crude oil futures were little changed during early European trading hours on Friday, hovering near nine-week highs ahead of supply data as signs the U.S. economic recovery is strengthening continued to support.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light sweet crude futures for delivery in February traded at USD99.61 a barrel during European morning trade, up 0.05%.
The February contract settled up 0.33% on Thursday to end at USD99.55 a barrel.
Oil futures were likely to find support at USD98.53 a barrel, the low from December 23 and resistance at USD100.29 a barrel, the high from October 22.
Oil prices remained supported after the U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday said that the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits declined by 42,000 to a seasonally adjusted 338,000 last week. Analysts had expected U.S. jobless claims to fall by 35,000 to 345,000 from the previous week’s revised total of 380,000, which was the highest since March.
Meanwhile, market players were also looking ahead to U.S. weekly supply data, expected later in the day, to gauge the strength of oil demand from the world’s largest consumer.
Trading volumes were expected to remain light, with no other U.S. data to be released throughout the day.
Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange, Brent oil futures for February delivery fell 0.16% to trade at USD111.82 a barrel, with the spread between the Brent and crude contracts standing at USD12.21 a barrel.
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