Oil prices steady above US$93 a barrel amid thin holiday trading

Oil prices saw little change Monday amid light trading due to holidays, and after rising more than US$2 a barrel in the previous session on news of improved US consumer spending. Light, sweet crude for February delivery lost 18 cents to US$ 93.13 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, mid-afternoon in Singapore. Japanese financial markets were closed Monday for the Emperor's birthday, a national holiday, while trading on some other Asian markets ended early for Christmas Eve. Markets in the US and many other countries will be closed Tuesday for Christmas. On Friday, the Nymex crude contract rose US$ 2.25 to settle at US$93.31 a barrel after the US government reported that consumer spending surged last month, raising hopes that the American economy will weather the crisis roiling credit markets and that demand for oil and gasoline will strengthen.