Oil prices moved up to around $104 a barrel Friday ahead of U.S. home sales data and the Memorial Day holiday weekend.
By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark U.S. crude for July delivery was up 22 cents to $103.96 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Nymex, the contract fell 33 cents to close at $103.74.
Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, added 16 cents to $110.52 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
Traders are waiting for a U.S. Commerce Department report on sales of new homes in April, expected later Friday, which may show a healthy American economy. That could help lift energy prices.
Oil reached a one-month high Wednesday of $104.07 a barrel after a U.S. Energy Information Administration report showed that U.S. crude supplies dropped a bigger-than-expected 7.2 million barrels in the week ended May 16.
"It seems that oil demand has picked up recently as crude oil stocks started to decline after reaching record high levels in previous weeks," said Myrto Sokou of Sucden Financial Research in London. "The recent solid U.S. economic figures could verify this uptrend in the U.S. economy."