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Oil rises above USD108 on supply

Friday, March 28 15:05:04

Brent crude oil rose above $108 a barrel today, heading for the first weekly gain in five, on promising U.S. data and concern that possible Western sanctions on Russia's energy sector could disrupt global supplies.

The U.S. economy grew slightly faster than estimated in the fourth quarter and new claims for jobless aid fell to a near four-month low last week, suggesting a brighter outlook for demand in the world's biggest oil consumer.

Brent was up 51 cents at $108.34 a barrel by 1433 GMT. U.S. crude was also 51 cents higher at $101.79, after settling up $1.02 in the previous session. The U.S. benchmark was aided by a continued drawdown in oil stocks at Cushing, Oklahoma, the pricing point for the U.S. benchmark.

"We are seeing a firmer overall global demand outlook, which will likely support oil markets," said Michael McCarthy, chief strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney.

"Durable goods orders in transport are in general a strong indicator for energy markets. The numbers show that demand is rising," McCarthy said, referring to orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods that rebounded in February, ending two straight months of decline.