Business

Oil rises near to US$93

Wednesday, September 26, 2012    

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THE price of oil rose to near US$93 a barrel yesterday, lifted by expectations of improved consumer confidence in the US and supply concerns tied to new sanctions against Iran.

By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark oil for November delivery was up 94 cents to US$92.87 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 96 cents to finish at US$91.93 per barrel on Monday. Worries about weaker economic growth dragged down prices because slower economies mean less demand for oil.

In London, Brent crude was up US$1.17 to US$110.98 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

Oil analyst Stephen Schork said in an email commentary that while US growth is "anaemic," prices were buoyed by expectations of improving US consumer sentiment for September, to be released later yesterday in New York by the Conference Board.

"As for today, all eyes will likely be on consumer confidence," Schork said. He also said good news could come from the US housing market, which appears to be bouncing back after years of lethargy. Standard & Poor's releases S&P/Case-Shiller index of home prices for July and data on new and pending home sales will be released later in the week.

Last week, a report said US home sales jumped to the highest level in more than two years in August. The government also reported that construction of single-family homes in August was the fastest in more than two years.

On Monday, the US Treasury Department said it was imposing new sanctions against Iran's state-owned oil company, refreshing concerns about its effects on supplies. Analyst Olivier Jakob of Petromatrix in Switzerland noted Saudi Arabia likely has limited spare export capacity.

In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:

— Natural gas rose four cents to US$2.877 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Heating oil rose 2.27 cents to US$3.1188 per gallon.

— Wholesale gasoline rose 2.73 cents to US$2.815 per gallon.

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