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Oil jumps above US$98 a barrel, buoyed by expected drop in US supplies

NEW YORK, N.Y. - The price of oil jumped to the highest level in six weeks Tuesday amid expectations that U.S. supplies have fallen for a second consecutive week.

Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for January delivery gained $1.17 to close at US$98.51 a barrel time on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil has gained $6.21, or 6.7 per cent, since U.S. Thanksgiving.

Investors are awaiting fresh information on U.S. stockpiles of crude oil and refined products.

Data for the week ended Dec. 6 is expected to show a decline of 2.8 million barrels in crude oil supplies and a decrease of 2.1 million barrels in gasoline stocks, according to a survey of analysts by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

A report on stockpiles from the U.S. Energy Department's Energy Information Administration — the market benchmark — will be out Wednesday.

Meanwhile, China's industrial output rose 10 per cent from a year earlier in November, slightly lower than October's increase, while retail sales grew a better than expected 13.7 per cent.

The data, coupled with earlier news about stronger U.S. hiring, added to expectations of rising energy demand from the world's top two economies.

Elsewhere, Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, was up 21 cents at US$109.60 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex, wholesale gasoline rose one cent to US$2.68 a U.S. gallon (3.79 litres), heating oil was flat at US$3.02 a gallon and natural gas rose one cent to $4.24 per 1,000 cubic feet.

(TSX:ECA), (TSX:IMO), (TSX:SU), (TSX:HSE), (NYSE:BP), (NYSE:COP), (NYSE:XOM), (NYSE:CVX), (TSX:CNQ), (TSX:TLM), (TSX:COS), (TSX:CVE)

The Canadian Press


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