Crude oil jumped to a 29-month high of $103 a barrel , before retreating to $97.50 on Thursday, as investors weighed the risk of Middle East unrest spreading from Libya to bigger exporters including Saudi Arabia.

The standoff between an increasingly isolated Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi and rebel factions now in control of oil-rich eastern Libya has cut output in the world's No. 12 crude exporter by at least 25%, or 400,000 barrels a day.

As for today, the US Prelim GDP will likely determine crude's next move, with any mildly positive elements within them likely to keep the crude price on its upwards direction.