NEW YORK, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Brent oil dropped by more than $1 on Friday while U.S. crude rose in thin, volatile trade ahead of the weekend as traders continued to weigh supply outages in Libya against U.S. inventory levels.
Brent crude found some early support from the ongoing supply disruptions in Libya before falling into negative territory in a bout of late selling ahead of the settlement.
U.S. crude rose early before giving up some gains as Brent collapsed, with traders weighing low distillate stockpiles ahead of winter against high crude inventories.
Traders said additional support for U.S. crude, frequently called West Texas Intermediate, came from short covering and a sell off in the contract's discount to Brent. Brent's premium to WTI blew out to more than $19 a barrel on Wednesday, and settled down at $16.97 a barrel on Friday.
U.S. crude did not settle on Thursday due to the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States, and players said many traders were out on Friday, leaving the market open to swings.
"Ultimately, (U.S. crude oil's earlier) run up was on relatively light volume, there was no fundamental shift," said Rich Ilczyszyn, chief market strategist and founder of iitrader.com LLC in Chicago.
Brent settled $1.17 lower at $109.69 a barrel, after trading as high as $111.50. The contract settled with a less than one percent gain on the month.
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