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Crude oil futures settle higher for fifth successive session

Extending gains for fifth successive session, crude oil futures ended significantly higher on Friday on stronger than expected US jobs data and renewed trade talks set for next week between the US and China. Sentiments remained upbeat on hopes that output reductions by major oil producers like Saudi Arabia and Russia would help ease concerns about excess supply in the market. Besides, the Energy Information Administration's data showed that crude inventories in the US rose by 7,000 barrels in the week to December 28, beating expectations for a drop of more than 3 million barrels. Distillate stockpiles were up by 9.5 million barrels last week, the biggest weekly jump in two years. Gasoline stocks rose by 6.9 million barrels, more than thrice the expected increase.

Benchmark crude oil futures for February surged 87 cents or 1.9 percent to settle $47.96 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. March Brent crude gained $1.11 or 2 percent to settle at $57.06 a barrel on London's Intercontinental Exchange.

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