[SINGAPORE] Brent crude prices held above US$60 a barrel in early Asian trade on Friday as strong US economic data supported the market, while a building supply glut capped gains.
On the supply side, data suggested an increasing glut as US data showed crude inventories unexpectedly rose by 7.3 million barrels last week to their highest December level on record. Analysts had expected a seasonal draw.
Yet on the demand side there was price supporting data as the US Labor Department said weekly jobless claims fell for the fourth straight week and the Commerce Department's final estimate of U.S. third-quarter economic growth indicated the quickest pace in over a decade.
Front-month Brent crude prices were trading at US$60.40 at 0240 GMT, up 16 cents, while US WTI's front-month contract was up 24 cents at US$56.08 a barrel in thin trading as many countries were still on Christmas holiday.