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LONDON: Brent crude oil steadied under $112 per barrel yesterday on optimism that the eurozone economy may finally be stabilising and that US consumers are beginning to spend again after several years of belt tightening.
Brent futures are near the top of an $8 range seen over the last three months with investors encouraged by world economic trends, despite some negative data suggesting downward risks for global oil demand and prices.
The German economy contracted by a larger-than-expected 0.5 percent in the final quarter of 2012, data showed on Tuesday, but most economists expect it to recover in the months ahead, supporting the euro zone.
US retail sales rose more than expected in December as Americans shrugged off the threat of higher taxes and bought a range of goods, suggesting momentum in consumer spending as the year ended, data showed yesterday.
Brent futures for February were down 50 cents at $111.38 per barrel by 1445 GMT. The contract, which expires on Wednesday, settled $1.24 higher in the previous session.
US oil was down 20 cents to $93.94.
“Optimism among investors is at a record high and the general market sentiment is positive so there is no reason for them to withdraw,” said Carsten Fritsch, senior oil analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt. Reuters