Investing.com - New York-traded crude oil futures inched up modestly on Friday, as a broadly weaker U.S. dollar and speculation frigid weather conditions in the U.S. will boost demand for oil products, such as heating fuel, lifted sentiment.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light sweet crude futures for delivery in April settled up 0.19%, or $0.19 cents, to end the week at $102.20 a barrel.
U.S. oil futures were likely to find support at $101.02 a barrel, the low from February 25 and resistance at $103.45 a barrel, the high from February 24.
On the week, U.S. crude futures, also known as West Texas Intermediate or WTI, climbed 0.38%, the seventh consecutive weekly gain.
Nymex oil prices ended February with an increase of 4.62%, the biggest monthly rise since August.
Oil’s gains came as the U.S. dollar fell to a three-month low against the euro on Friday after data showed that the annual rate of consumer inflation in the euro zone rose by a more-than-expected 0.8% in February, dampening speculation the European Central Bank will add to stimulus at its upcoming policy meeting.
The dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback against a basket of six other major currencies, fell 0.6% on Friday to close the week at 79.81, the lowest level since December 18.
Dollar-denominated oil futures contracts tend to rise when the dollar falls, as this makes oil cheaper for buyers in other currencies.
Meanwhile, forecasts for freezing temperatures across most parts of the central and northeast U.S. over the next couple of weeks boosted prices as well.
Gains were limited after the Commerce Department reported Friday that U.S. fourth quarter gross domestic product was revised down to an annual rate of 2.4%, from a preliminary estimate of 3.2%. Analysts had expected a downward revision to 2.5%.
The disappointing data added to concerns that the economic recovery has lost momentum since the end of last year.
Earlier in the week, Fed Chair Janet Yellen acknowledged recent weakness in U.S. data, saying it indicates softness in the economy.
In testimony to the Senate banking committee in Washington, Ms. Yellen said it was hard to say how much the recent soft data was due to weather and added that the bank would be attentive to signals on whether the recovery is progressing in line with expectations.
In the week ahead, investors will be anticipating Friday’s U.S. nonfarm payrolls report for an indication of the strength of the recovery in the labor market and the future course of monetary policy.
Data from the Commodities Futures Trading Commission released Friday showed that hedge funds and money managers increased their bullish bets in New York-traded oil futures in the week ending February 25.
Net longs totaled 339,052 contracts, up 2.1% from net longs of 331,857 in the preceding week.
Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil futures for April delivery added 0.1% on Friday to settle the week at $109.07 a barrel.
The April Brent contract declined 0.71% on the week, but still posted a monthly gain of 2.48% in February.
Meanwhile, the spread between the Brent and the WTI crude contracts stood at $6.87 a barrel by close of trade on Friday.
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