- NYMEX crude prices rose in Asian trading hours on Friday after data revealed the U.S. economy grew at a healthy clip in the fourth quarter of last year.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in March traded at USD98.07 a barrel during Asian trading, up 0.13%.

On Thursday the New York-traded oil futures hit a session low of USD97.91 a barrel and a high of USD98.15 a barrel. The March contract settled at USD97.95 a barrel.

Nymex oil futures were likely to find support at USD95.22 a barrel, Monday''s low, and resistance at USD98.96 a barrel, the high from Jan. 2.

Oil prices gained after the Commerce Department said gross domestic product expanded 3.2% in the three months to December, in line with most forecasts, even outpacing some, following a 4.1% rise in the third quarter.

Exports grew by 11.4%, while federal consumption decreased, which drew particular applause by fanning hopes the private sector will fuel more growth going forward.

The data showed personal consumption grew 3.3% in the three months ended Dec. 31, the biggest increase in three years.

Oil traders shrugged off data confirming a contraction in China’s manufacturing sector. China’s final HSBC Purchasing Managers Index released earlier fell to a six-month low of 49.5 in January from a preliminary reading of 49.6 and down from 50.5 in December.

Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil futures for March delivery were down 0.16% and trading at 107.71 a barrel, while the spread between the Brent and U.S. crude contracts stood at USD9.64 a barrel.

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