U.S. crude oil price fell Friday on rising oil stocks at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for American crude futures contracts, while Brent crude rose to a 9- month high.
Oil inventories at Cushing kept rising this year, posing pressure on the U.S. crude prices. Also, there was a report saying that a refinery in the U.S. Midwest wouldn't open until the end of February, raising concerns about rising stocks of crude oil at Cushing.
However, the Brent crude continued to rise Friday after the release of strong Chinese economic data and positive U.S. trade report. Brent's premium over U.S. crude benchmark expanded further to over 23 dollars.
Exports of China in January jumped 25 percent from a year earlier while imports surged 28.8 percent, resulting a trade surplus of 29.2 billion dollars, according to official data released Friday. This confirmed the rebound in the world's second- biggest economy
The U.S. trade deficit in December dropped 21 percent to 38.5 billion U.S. dollars from the prior month, the narrowest in nearly three years, the Commerce Department said.
Meanwhile, German trade surplus in 2012 jumped to its second highest level in more than 60 years, pointing to an underlying resilience of the European largest economy, official data showed Friday.
Iran and the international powers are scheduled to re-open the nuclear talks on Feb. 26 in Kazakhstan, but hopes for progress were limited.
Attackers blew up Yemen's main oil export pipeline Friday, worsening the supply concerns in the Middle East and offering supports to Brent crude.
Light, sweet crude for March delivery lost 11 cents, or 0.11 percent, to settle at 95.72 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. For the week, it declined 2.05 dollars, or 2. 10 percent.
Brent crude for March delivery continued to rise 1.66 dollars, or 1.42 percent, to close at 118.90 dollars a barrel, posting a weekly gain of 2.02 dollars, or 1.73 percent.