- Crude oil prices were flat in Asia early Monday with the market waiting for cues on events in the Ukraine and the outlook from the Fed later this week.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, U.S. crude oil for delivery in July traded at $101.60 a barrel, up 0.01%, after settling at at $101.58 a barrel by close of trade last week.

New York-traded crude oil futures edged higher on Friday, amid indications that the U.S. economy is shaking off the effect of a weather-related slowdown over the winter.

The Commerce Department reported Friday that U.S. housing starts rose 13.2% last month, the largest increase in five months and following a 2.0% increase in March.

The upbeat housing data came one day after a report from the U.S. Department of Labor showed that the number of people who filed for unemployment assistance in the U.S. last week fell to a six-year low of 297,000.

Meanwhile, heightened tensions between Russia and Ukraine remained in focus, amid concerns over a disruption to supplies from the region.

The conflict between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces continued on Friday, stoking fears that the crisis will further develop and drag the U.S. deeper into the standoff.

Russia produced 10.4 million barrels of oil per day in 2012 and exported 7.4 million, making it the world’s second largest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia.

In the week ahead, investors will be looking to the minutes from the Federal Reserve''s latest monetary policy meeting, due for release on Wednesday, for insight on the central bank''s view of the economy.

The July Brent oil contract rose 1.69% or $1.86 a barrel on the week, amid growing concerns over a disruption to supplies from Libya. The spread between the Brent and the WTI crude contracts stood at $8.17 a barrel by close of trade on Friday, compared to $7.90 in the preceding week.

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