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Oil prices mixed before US jobs data
World oil prices diverged on Friday before US jobs data, with traders looking to see if the numbers will hasten the Federal Reserve to start reducing its huge stimulus programme.
New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in January, fell 18 cents to $97.20 a barrel.
Brent North Sea crude for January rose 38 cents to stand at $111.36 a barrel in midday trade.
"Investors have adopted a cautious attitude ahead of key data releases today with the anticipation that any further positive surprises will support the view that the Fed will begin tapering soon," said Sucden brokers analyst Kash Kamal.
"With November non-farm payrolls and the unemployment rate as well as the University of Michigan confidence survey due this afternoon, trading could remain choppy throughout the session as investors adopt a wait and see attitude."
The data could add to recent figures that point to a pick-up in the world's top economy, raising the prospect of the US Federal Reserve cutting its monetary easing scheme this month instead of early next year as previously flagged by analysts.
US oil futures have meanwhile risen this week mainly on the announcement that part of the Keystone pipeline in the United States would open in January, bringing oil from Cushing, Oklahoma, to Texas refineries along the Gulf of Mexico.
The US government on Wednesday reported an unexpected drop in American crude-oil inventories last week, the first decline since mid-September.
Prices also gained support on Thursday after the US Commerce Department revised sharply higher US economic growth in the third quarter to an annual rate of 3.6 percent from an initial estimate of 2.8 percent.
"The series of good data releases may hint (at) greater appetite for oil by the US as demand will be boosted by increasing economic activities," Tan Chee Tat, an investment analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore.
European benchmark Brent retained broad support over concerns of a supply disruption in the North Sea, he added.
A fierce storm battered northern Europe with hurricane winds on Thursday, leaving five people dead or missing, while British authorities had to evacuate 15,000 homes on the North Sea coast.
The market this week also reacted to OPEC's decision on output.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which pumps out one third of the world's crude, agreed to hold its crude production ceiling at 30 million barrels per day despite oversupply concerns and competition from cheaper shale oil.