Crude Oil futures are trading slightly higher during Friday’s Asian session as traders in the region digest a mixed batch of U.S. economic data released Thursday.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures rose 0.07% to USD97.20 per barrel in Asian trading Friday after settling up 0.22% at USD96.79 a barrel on Thursday in New York.
In U.S. economic news, the Commerce Department revised its estimate of U.S. fourth-quarter GDP growth to 0.4% from 0.1%. Today’s number was the third of three estimates for the final quarter of 2012. The Labor Department said initial claims for jobless benefits rose by 16,000 to 357,000 last week.
The March reading of the Chicago purchasing managers index fell 4.4% to 52.4%, well below the reading of 56.4% economists expected. Readings above 50% indicate expansion. The U.S. is the world’s largest oil consumer.
With U.S. markets closed today, traders now know that oil futures closed higher for the week there by 3.8% while rising 5.6% during March. New York-traded crude finished the first quarter with a gain of 5.8%.
Elsewhere, BP, Europe’s second-largest oil company, said it will partner with U.S. oil giants Chevron and ConocoPhillips on a new exploration project in the Shetland Islands, north of Scotland. BP thinks it can pull about 1 billion barrels from the Clair Ridge in the region. Chevron and ConocoPhillips are the second and third-largest U.S. oil companies, respectively.
Lebanon announced 52 global oil companies are bidding for win licenses for offshore oil and gas work in that country. The companies include Chevron, Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell.
Meanwhile, Brent crude futures for May delivery fell 0.18% to USD109.83 per barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange.