NEW YORK, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) -- Oil prices gained for a third day on Friday as data showed the U.S. economy grew at a faster pace than expected in the third quarter.
Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 4.1 percent in the third quarter before the 16-day partial government shutdown, up from the previous estimate of 3.6 percent, the Commerce Department said Friday.
The U.S. economy grew at a 2.5 percent rate in the second quarter, the department said.
As the U.S. economy is showing signs of improvement, market analysts expect increasing oil demand will follow.
Traders also believed that the Federal Reserve's scale-back in its monetary stimulus program was a vote of confidence in the economy, which gave support to the oil prices.
In a nod to better prospects for the economy and labor market, the U.S. central bank on Wednesday modestly trimmed the pace of its monthly asset purchases by 10 billion U.S. dollars to 75 billion dollars starting in January.
U.S. economic activity is expanding at a moderate pace, and labor market conditions have shown further improvement, and the unemployment rate has declined, the Fed said in a statement.
Light, sweet crude for February delivery gained 28 cents to settle at 99.32 U.S. dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for February delivery moved up 1.48 dollars to close at 111.77 dollars a barrel.