BANGKOK – The price of oil rose slightly Friday after data showed U.S. consumer spending on the rise, a sign of confidence in prospects for the world's biggest economy.
Benchmark crude for July delivery was up 15 cents to $93.76 per barrel at midday Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 48 cents to close at $93.61 per barrel on Friday.
The U.S. economy grew at a modest 2.4 percent annual rate from January through March, slightly slower than initially estimated. But consumer spending was stronger than first thought, roaring ahead at a 3.4 percent annual rate. That's the fastest spending growth in more than two years and even stronger than the 3.2 percent rate estimated last month.
Caroline Bain, commodities analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit, said in a commentary that "the modest upward revision to already-strong private consumption should be a positive for the oil price as it suggests buoyant consumer demand."
Meanwhile, the U.S. Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said the nation's supply of oil rose last week by 3 million barrels to 397.6 million barrels, the highest level since the government started collecting the data in 1978. Separately, the American Petroleum Institute said crude oil stocks rose by 4.4 million barrels to 395.1 million barrels.
Brent crude, a benchmark for many international oil varieties, was up 4 cents to $102.23 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
In other energy futures trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange:
— Wholesale gasoline rose 0.7 cents to $2.815 a gallon.
— Heating oil was little changed at $2.844 per gallon.
— Natural gas shed 1.1 cents to $4.012 per 1,000 cubic feet.