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Brent heads for first weekly gain since late Feb

Singapore, March 28, 2014

Brent steadied below $108 per barrel on Friday, holding most of its gains from the prior session and heading for the first weekly rise in five, on promising U.S. data and fears geopolitical tensions could dent supply from Russia.

The US 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 crude was down 5 cents at $107.78 a barrel by 0743 GMT, after gaining 80 cents on Thursday, with prices headed for an almost 1-percent gain for the week.

US crude was 27 cents higher at $101.55 per barrel, after settling up $1.02 in the previous session. It was on track for a 2-percent weekly rise, the most since early February, aided by a continued drawdown in oil stocks at Cushing, 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.

Oil prices also continued to draw support from the Ukraine crisis, with the US and the European Union agreeing to work together to prepare tougher economic sanctions in response to Russia's behaviour in Ukraine and to make Europe less dependent on Russian gas.-Reuters




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