NEW YORK, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- Crude prices edged up on Friday as China's growth data came in supportive and the Algerian hostage crisis caused concerns about oil supplies.
Crude prices rose as the gross domestic product of China grew 7. 8 percent in 2012, with its fourth-quarter growth rebounded to 7.9 percent, according to government data released on Friday.
The better-than-expected economic growth of the world's second largest economy boosted investors' confidence in oil demand, offering support to oil prices.
Supply disruption fears also helped to raise oil prices on Friday. After Islamic militants attacked and took hostages at a gas plant in Algeria, clashes between the government forces and attackers posed risks to the OPEC member state's oil production as several big foreign oil companies started to evacuate personnel.
Besides, a new round of talks between the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Iran failed again to make a breakthrough. Escalating tensions between Tehran and the West could threat Iran's oil production and oil transportation through the Strait of Hormuz.
The International Energy Agency said on Friday that upward pressure on oil prices could continue as rising Chinese demand and falling OPEC supplies would tighten world markets.
But Friday's gains were limited by a stronger dollar and worse- than-expected U.S. consumer confidence for January. According to the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment survey, the consumer confidence index for January fell to 71.3 from 72.9 in the previous month, missing the market's estimate of 75.0.
Light, sweet crude for February delivery gained slightly by 7 cents, or 0.07 percent, to settle at 95.56 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. For the week, it rose 2 dollars, or 2.14 percent.
Brent crude for March delivery rose 79 cents, or 0.71 percent to close at 111.89 dollars a barrel, registering a weekly gain of 1.25 dollars, or 1.13 percent.