NEW YORK, (Reuters) – U.S. oil prices prices were well off early highs on Friday after data showed U.S. home sales plunged in April, adding to the latest crop of weak economic signals, and wiping away most of the day’s early gains sparked by a weaker dollar.
Industry data showed pending sales of existing U.S. homes fell more than expected in April to hit a seven-month low, dashing hopes for a recovery in the vital housing market.
“The weak home sales data signifies the U.S. economy is sputtering rather than improving nicely,” said Gene McGillian, analyst, at Tradition Energy, in Stamford, Connecticut
“U.S. crude has hit over $100, but is having a hard time moving further up because of economic uncertainty,” he added.
By 11:50 a.m. EDT (1550 GMT), U.S. crude for July delivery CLc1 was up 26 cents at $100.49 a barrel, after hitting an early high of $101.24.
In London, ICE July Brent LCOc1 dipped 23 cents to $114.82.
Adding pressure to crude futures, OPEC oil output was expected to have increased this month due to extra oil from Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Iraq, according to a Reuters survey.
Supply from all 12 members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is expected to average 28.90 million barrels per day this month, up from a revised 28.79 million bpd in April, the survey of oil companies, OPEC officials and analysts found.
In early trading, the euro rallied against the dollar after European Central Bank Governing Council member George Provopoulos said Greece will be able to repay its debt in full without restructuring if it sticks to an austerity plan.