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article imageOil prices higher on U.S. optimism

By AFP     Mar 28, 2014 in Business

Global oil prices rose on Friday as traders took their cue from upbeat U.S. economic indicators and concerns over supply disruptions in Nigeria.

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in May, gained 51 cents to $101.79 a barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for May grew 21 cents to stand at $108.04 a barrel in London midday deals compared with Thursday's close.

The market was supported by robust consumer spending in the United States, the world's biggest economy and user of oil.

The Commerce Department on Thursday said the economy grew at an annual rate of 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, stronger than the 2.4 percent previously estimated, as consumer spending picked up.

Singapore's United Overseas Bank said in a market commentary the data was "adding optimism to the US economy".

It said there were also "concerns about Nigerian oil supplies being disrupted after Shell announced a major Nigerian pipeline being sabotaged".

Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell on Wednesday said it had declared a "force majeure" on crude from Nigeria as it struggles to repair the pipeline.

"Force majeure" is a legal term releasing a company from contractual obligations when faced with circumstances beyond its control.

Nigeria is Africa's biggest oil producer, accounting for more than two million barrels per day.

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