Oil hits three-month highs as strong U.S. consumer spending underpins growth hopes.

 
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TOKYO -- Oil prices rose on Friday, hitting three-month highs after data showed record online spending by U.S. consumers, stoking faith in the world's no. 1 economy even before the hoped-for end to the trade war between Washington and Beijing. Brent crude futures were up 13 cents, or 0.2%, at $68.05 a barrel at 0150 GMT, while the West Texas Intermediate CLc1 contract was up 13 cents, or 0.2%, at $61.81 a barrel. A survey on Thursday showed that online holiday purchases by U.S. consumers reached a record, beating analysts' expectations and sending U.S. stocks to fresh. U.S.

consumers are 'showing few signs of tightening their purse strings, which is positive for oil also,' said Stephen Innes chief Asia market strategist at AxiTrader. Oil prices have also been buoyed by robust hopes that the New Year will usher in an end to the...

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