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Oil near US$98 a barrel

Friday, December 13, 2013

Oil prices climbed to near US$98 a barrel yesterday, as a rise in US retail sales pointed to higher spending during the holiday season and could provide a boost to the economy. By mid-afternoon in Europe, benchmark US oil for January delivery was up 43 cents to US$97.87 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.


On Wednesday, the contract fell $1.07 to close at US$97.44 after the US Energy Department said gasoline and distillate supplies increase more than three times what analysts were expecting. That raised the possibility that refiners would slow production and purchases of oil in the coming weeks. But the market was buoyed somewhat yesterday after the Commerce Department said retail sales rose 0.7 per cent in November. It was the biggest gain in five months and suggested consumer spending would increase during the winter season.


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