UPDATE 7-Oil prices edge higher on geopolitical concerns

Fri Mar 28, 2014 3:40pm EDT
 
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* Oil supported by signs of U.S. economic growth

* Libyan protesters block oil pipeline (Updates prices to settlement, adds CFTC report)

By Anna Louie Sussman

NEW YORK, March 28 (Reuters) - Brent crude oil rose for a fourth straight session on Friday, notching its first weekly gain since February, on promising U.S. economic data and concern that possible Western sanctions on Russia's energy sector could disrupt global supplies.

The United States and NATO have voiced alarm over what they say are thousands of Russian troops massed near its western border with Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin has reserved the right to send troops into Ukraine, home to a large population of Russian-speakers in the east.

U.S. crude oil rose for its third session on data showing consumer spending increased in February, lifted by an increase in services consumption, news that also buoyed the U.S. equities markets for most of the session. However, a dip in consumer sentiment this month offered confirmation that economic growth slowed in the first quarter.

Brent rose 24 cents to settle at $108.07 a barrel. U.S. crude gained 39 cents a barrel to settle at $101.67, after gaining more than $1 in each of the past two sessions.

The U.S. benchmark has been boosted by a continued drawdown in oil stocks at Cushing, Oklahoma, the pricing point for the U.S. benchmark.

"I think that some of the same factors that have pushed us back above $100 are still driving the market, and there's still increased geopolitical risk from the situation in the Crimea as Russia continues to put troops along the border with Ukraine," said Gene McGillian, an analyst with Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.   Continued...