New York's West Texas Intermediate for June delivery was up five cents to USD 99.47 a barrel in mid-morning trade, reversing a decline earlier Friday. Brent North Sea crude for June inched up one cent to USD 107.77. Prices eased yesterday after the US Department of Energy's weekly estimate of crude oil stocks showed a gain of 1.7 million barrels to 339.4 million -- the highest weekly level since 1982.
That came a day after official data showed the US economy grew just 0.1 per cent year-on-year in the first three months of 2014, much slower than the 2.6 per cent in the previous quarter and well short of forecasts. However, research house Capital Economics noted that the Federal Reserve's statement on the economy "even takes a more upbeat tone than the one issued after the last meeting in mid-March". It added that this suggested growth in activity has picked up recently after slowing down during a harsh winter season.
Prices got some support in Asia today after the release of figures showing manufacturing activity in the United States and China picked up in April. Also, Washington said consumer spending in the United States -- the world's biggest economy and oil consumer -- rose at its fastest pace in almost five years in March. Traders are now awaiting the non-farm payrolls figures from the US today, which they hope will show a pick-up after flattening at the start of the year because of the weather.