Crude oil prices were up to open Friday on a higher note as record sales in the U.S. hinted strong sentiment in the oil market that demand could be higher than expectations next year.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $68 per barrel at 0633 GMT for a 0.06% increase on Friday, after closing at $67.96 a barrel on Thursday with a 1.13% daily gain.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate was at $61.80 a barrel at the same time for a 0.17% gain, after ending the previous session at $61.69 per barrel with a 0.82% gain.
Online retail sales in the U.S. during this holiday season, from Nov. 1 through Dec. 25, rose 18.8% from the same period a year ago to hit a record high level, according to the Mastercard SpendingPulse report released on Thursday.
Strong data in the world's largest economy and oil consumer hinted sentiment among investors that crude oil demand could be higher than the market expectations in 2020.
On the supply side, OPEC and its allies will start to curb their crude oil production by an additional 0.5 million barrels per day (bpd) starting from Jan. 1 until the end of March next year.
The group dubbed as OPEC+ has been limiting its crude output by a total of 1.2 million bpd since the beginning of 2019.
By Ovunc Kutlu