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Oil prices edge higher as Cyprus banks reopen


Oil prices pushed up for the fifth straight session Thursday helped by some firm economic data in Germany and the US and the calm reopening of the banks in battered Cyprus.

In New York, WTI light sweet crude for delivery in May gained 65 cents to $97.23 a barrel.

In London, Brent North Sea crude for May advanced 33 cents to $110.02 a barrel.

The calm reopening of Cyprus's banks after a nearly two-week shutdown helped ease market fears of more financial turmoil across the eurozone.

That combined with improved German retail sales data and an upwardly revised US fourth quarter GDP reading to help both the euro and oil prices move higher.

The modest gains came as the US market trade continued to be choppy, said Timothy Evans of Citi Futures.

"The market talk on the WTI strength has focused on rising US refinery crude runs as a support for crude oil," he said in a report.

However, he noted, US crude stockpiles rose significantly last week, a possible bearish sign for prices.