Oil slightly lower on economic questions

Wednesday, October 03, 2012    

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THE price of oil fell slightly yesterday as investors weighed positive US economic news against ongoing concerns about Europe.

Benchmark oil dropped US$0.28 to US$92.20 per barrel in midday trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, which is used to price international varieties of oil, fell US$0.29 to US$111.90 per barrel in London.

CoreLogic, a private real estate data provider, says a measure of US home prices jumped 4.6 per cent in August compared with a year ago. That's the largest year-over-year increase in more than six years. The new data provides more evidence that the housing market continues to improve.

But investors remain concerned about Europe's ongoing financial crisis. Slower growth in China, which is a huge importer of oil, has also kept a lid on oil prices. Slower growth can cut demand for oil and other energy products.

At the pump, the US average for gasoline was unchanged at US$3.78 per gallon (US$1 a litre), according to AAA, Wright Express and the Oil Price Information Service. That's about five cents less than a month ago but still nearly US$0.36 more than a year ago.

In other Nymex energy futures trading:

— The price of natural gas rose two cents to US$3.50 per 1,000 cubic feet. That's 83 per cent above the low for the year of US$1.91 reached in April.

— Heating oil is unchanged at US$3.14 per gallon.

— Wholesale gasoline is down three cents at US$2.89 per gallon.



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