Investing.com - Crude oil futures rose in U.S. trading on Friday on hopes bank repayments to the European Central Bank indicate that the European and global economy may be on the mend.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for delivery in March traded at USD96.29 a barrel on Friday, up 0.35%, off from a session high of USD96.53 and up from an earlier session low of USD95.45.
Earlier in Europe, the European Central Bank said that banks will repay EUR137.159 billion in three-year loans next week, opting to hand back the money early, a sign the European financial sector may be returning to health.
The European Central Bank made the three-year loans available to banks last year to increase liquidity levels to combat the debt crisis, and energy markets applauded the move, interpreting the news as a sign the global economy may be improving.
Also on Friday, oil prices gained after the Ifo Institute for Economic Research said that its index of German business confidence improved to 104.2 in January, from 102.4 the previous month, beating expectations for a rise to 103.0.
Capping gains, however, were data pointing to rising U.S. stockpiles.
In a report, Energy Information Administration said that U.S. crude oil inventories rose by 2.813 million barrels last week after declining by 951,000 barrels in the preceding week.
Analysts had expected U.S. crude oil stockpiles to rise by 1.750 million barrels last week.
Elsewhere on the ICE Futures Exchange, Brent oil futures for March delivery were up 0.28% at USD113.59 a barrel, up USD17.30 from its U.S. counterpart.