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Crude oil ends week with small gain amid forecasts of better global demand

The price of oil fell slightly Friday but stayed just above US$100 a barrel to end the week with a small gain.

Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for March delivery dropped five cents to close at US$100.30 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. For the week, oil was up 42 cents.

Some economic indicators released during the week raised concerns about the strength of oil demand in the U.S.

One report showed that cold weather caused U.S. retail sales to drop in January for a second straight month as Americans spent less on autos and clothing and at restaurants during a brutally cold month. Weekly jobless claims were also higher than expected.

Balancing those worries were forecasts for stronger global oil consumption this year from the International Energy Agency, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and the Energy Information Administration.

Brent crude, which is used to set prices for international varieties of crude, rose 56 cents to US$109.08 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading in New York, wholesale gasoline added three cents to US$2.81 a U.S. gallon (3.79 litres), heating oil added five cents to US$3.08 a gallon and natural gas fell a penny to US$5.21 per 1,000 cubic feet.


The Canadian Press

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