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UPDATE 9-Crude oil ends mixed, swayed by views on economy and Fed
May 30, 2013 / 5:22 AM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 9-Crude oil ends mixed, swayed by views on economy and Fed

* U.S. crude stocks record high, gasoline stocks fall -EIA

* U.S. Q1 GDP revised slightly lower, jobless claims rise

* Dollar sinks to three-week low vs euro

* OPEC expected to maintain output policy in Friday meeting (Adds tornado threat for Cushing, Oklahoma, in paragraphs 11 and 12)

By Jeanine Prezioso

NEW YORK, May 30 (Reuters) - Crude oil futures ended mixed on Thursday, with Brent falling on a weak global economic outlook and U.S. crude lifted by optimism about the Federal Reserve’s stimulus program.

U.S. crude futures prices rose as investors interpreted weak U.S. economic data to mean the Fed may continue its easing policy, which would keep interest rates low and money cheap.

Both were driven higher earlier after government data showed an unexpected drop in U.S. gasoline stocks.

U.S. crude futures settled 48 cents higher at $93.61 per barrel, rising one-half percent after sinking as low as $91.65. Brent crude oil futures settled 24 cents lower at $102.19 a barrel after trading between $101.08 and $102.85.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development on Wednesday lowered its growth forecast for China, the No. 2 oil consumer. German unemployment figures rose, curbing a rise in Brent this week, brokers said.

The U.S. economy expanded less than previously estimated in the first three months of the year, the Commerce Department said, and initial jobless claims unexpectedly rose last week.

“As long as you have weak economic numbers it gives people confidence that the Fed will not raise interest rates, which is supportive for oil,” a New York-based broker said.

Gasoline stocks fell by 1.5 million barrels in the week that ended on Friday, with the bulk of the drop in the densely populated East Coast, U.S. Energy Information Administration data showed.

Gasoline futures reached as high as $2.824 per gallon, after trading as low as $2.757, their weakest level since May 2. They settled at $2.8125.

The dollar hit a three-week low against the euro. A lower dollar makes commodities cheaper for traders in other currencies.

The U.S. oil market was also keeping close tabs on a tornado warning some 15 miles (24 km) from Cushing, Oklahoma, the benchmark oil supply point. Cushing stocks totaled 50 million barrels, EIA data showed on Thursday.

U.S. crude oil futures prices were virtually unchanged at 4:24 p.m. EDT (2024 GMT).

Friday’s meeting in Vienna of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries was also on traders’ radar. (Additional reporting by Ron Bousso and Manash Goswami; Editing by James Jukwey, Bob Burgdorfer, Kenneth Barry and Dale Hudson)

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