U.S. oil futures held steady near a nine-week high on Monday, as market players looked ahead to U.S. pending home sales data later in the day to gauge the economic strength of the world’s largest oil consuming nation.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in February traded at USD100.31 a barrel during European morning trade, flat on the day. New York-traded oil futures held in a range between USD100.14 a barrel and USD100.43 a barrel.
The February contract rallied to USD100.75 a barrel on Friday, the highest since October 21, before pulling back to settle at USD100.32, up 0.77%.
Nymex oil futures were likely to find support at USD99.06 a barrel, the low from December 26 and resistance at USD100.75 a barrel, the high from December 27.
Volumes were expected to remain light on Monday, with year-end positioning and profit-taking driving flows.
U.S. crude futures, also known as West Texas Intermediate or WTI, have been well-supported in recent weeks amid indications the U.S. economy is gaining momentum.
Prices have gained approximately 9% in 2013, set for a fourth annual increase in five years.
Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil futures for February delivery inched up 0.15% to trade at USD112.36 a barrel, while the spread between the Brent and U.S. crude contracts stood at USD12.05 a barrel.
London-traded Brent prices rallied to a three-week high of USD112.78 a barrel on Friday, amid ongoing concerns over a disruption to supplies from Libya and South Sudan.
The European benchmark is on track for a 1% advance in 2013.
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