Investing.com - Oil futures are trading higher during Friday's session following some decent data points released in the U.S. Thursday and news that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will pare oil shipments over the next few weeks.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for May delivery rose 0. 18% to USD92.61 per barrel in Asian trading Friday. Crude fell in the U.S. on Thursday after Germany's manufacturing PMI fell to 48.9 in March from 50.3 the previous month, missing market calls for a 50.5 reading while the country's service-sector expanded at the slowest rate in four months.
French manufacturing PMI came in at 43.9 in March, unchanged from February's reading, while service sector activity in France fell to a 49-month low of 41.9.
However, U.S. data points were more encouraging. In U.S. economic news, initial claims for jobless benefits rose by 2,000 to 336,000 last week. The less volatile 7,500 to 339,750, the lowest reading since February 2008.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia business outlook survey for March rose to a reading of 2 this month from -12.5 in February. Economists expected an increase to -3.
The National Association of Realtors said existing home sales rose 0.8% in February an annual rate of 4.98 million units last month, good for the best reading since November 2009. Economists expected a February reading of 5 million units. The January sales pace was revised up a 4.94 million units from the initially reported figure of 4.92 million units.
Traders often view strong U.S. housing and employment as positive signs for oil prices although the American Petroleum Institute said Thursday U.S. oil consumption fell 4.1% last month from February 2012.
Elsehwere, OPEC, which accounts for 40% of global oil output, said it will pare shipments by 40,000 barrels per day to 23.72 million barrels a day for the weeks ending April 6. The number excludes Angolan and Ecuadorean shipments.
Brent futures for May delivery climbed 0.15% to USD107.36 per barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange.
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