Oil prices were mixed on Friday, as favorable US economic data signals a fuel demand recovery, although investors are still cautious of extra Iranian barrels flooding the market from the possible outcome of lifting oil export sanctions on Iran from the ongoing nuclear talks.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $69.10 per barrel at 07.00 GMT for a 0.14% loss after closing Thursday at $69.20 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was trading at $66.92 a barrel at the same time with a 0.10% increase after ending the previous session at $66.85 per barrel.
The US economy expanded by an annual rate of 6.4% in the first quarter of the year, according to the Commerce Department's second reading of the data on Thursday, which was unchanged from the first reading.
Additionally, the number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment claims fell to a new coronavirus pandemic low, according to the Labor Department on Thursday.
Claims fell 38,000 to 406,000 last week, the lowest level since March 14, 2020. It marked the eighth time during the pandemic that initial jobless claims came in below 700,000.
Rising sentiments over a quicker fuel demand recovery also support higher prices as both the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and International Energy Agency (IEA) forecast a surge in oil demand by 6% in 2021, particularly in the second half of the year.
Cementing their forecasts, US crude stocks fell by 1.7 million barrels, more than the market expectation last week, signaling a crude demand rebound in the US, the world's largest oil consumer.
However, the recent negotiations between the US and Iran to revive the 2015 nuclear agreement and lift Iranian oil export sanctions are heightening investor caution over the extra barrels that Iran will bring to the market.
By Ebru Sengul Cevrioglu