NYMEX crude oil prices retain gains in Asia as U.S. data buoys

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Investing.com - Crude oil prices gained slightly in Asia on Friday on a carryover from overnight better-than-expected U.S. economic growth and weekly jobless claims data.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude oil for delivery in May traded at $101.35 a barrel, up 0.07%. On Thursday it reached the highest settlement price since March 7, after hitting an overnight session low of $100.04 a barrel and a high of $101.69 a barrel.

Brent oil on the ICE futures exchange rose 80 cents, or 0.8%, to $107.83 a barrel on Thursday, its highest level since March 14.

Oil prices shot up after the Commerce Department reported earlier that U.S. gross domestic product was revised up to 2.6% in the final three months of 2013, up from a preliminary estimate of 2.4%. Market expectations had been for an upward revision to 2.7%.

Still, the report showed that personal spending was revised up to 3.3% from 2.6% initially, the fastest rate of growth in three years, which drew applause from investors betting that sluggish economic indicators hitting the wire earlier this year were the result of rough winter weather that disrupted commerce and not due to an economic soft patch.

Separately, the Labor Department said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the U.S. last week declined by 10,000 to a 311,000 from the previous week's revised total of 321,000.

Analysts were expecting jobless claims to rise by 4,000.

Also supporting both U.S. and European crude blends were concerns the U.S. and Europe may stiffen sanctions on crude-rich Russia and subsequently threaten global oil supply.

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This article appears in: Investing , Forex and Currencies

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