New York - Oil rose on Friday as lower supplies for a key Canadian export pipeline and strong earnings reports by Google and Citigroup buoyed prices despite a rash of weak US economic data.
Oil got an early lift after Google and Citigroup reported earnings. Oil prices got further support from expiry of options on the New York Mercantile Exchange, market players said.
"There is pre-weekend short-covering going on as nobody wants to be short at this time with so many things going on," said Phil Flynn, analyst with PFBEST Research in Chicago.
But US economic data limited the upside, as consumer confidence plummeted to its lowest level in more than two years in early July and factory output stalled in June.
The data dimmed hopes for a quick economic rebound in the second half. Negotiations between President Barack Obama and Republicans to avoid a US government default also prompted concern in financial markets.
The premium of Brent to US futures narrowed to below $20 a barrel, pulled down in part by news TransCanada Corp will cut nominated crude volumes on its Keystone pipeline to the United States from Canada by 20% next month for maintenance.
US crude lead the oil complex higher, rising $1.75 $97.44 a barrel at 12:04 EDT (1604 GMT). Brent crude gained $1.19 to trade at $117.45 a barrel.
The market was also weighing the possibility of a second round of strategic petroleum reserve releases. Germany and Italy are likely to oppose a second release, a French government source said on Friday.