Oil jumps above $98 a barrel, buoyed by expected drop in US supplies
NEW YORK (AP) -- The price of oil jumped to the highest level in six weeks amid expectations that U.S. supplies fell for the second week in a row.
Benchmark U.S. crude for January delivery gained $1.17 to close at $98.51 a barrel time on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil has gained $6.21, or 6.7 percent, since Thanksgiving.
Investors are awaiting fresh information on U.S. stockpiles of crude oil and refined products.
Data for the week ending 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.
The industry-funded American Petroleum Institute will release its report on oil stocks later Tuesday, while the report from the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration - the market benchmark - will be out on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, China's industrial output rose 10 percent from a year earlier in November, slightly lower than October's increase, while retail sales grew a higher-than-expected 13.7 percent.
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.
In the U.S., drivers paid an average of $3.26 for a gallon of gasoline. That's up 7 cents from a month ago, but down 8 cents from this time last year.
Elsewhere, Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, was up 21 cents at $109.60 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
In other energy futures trading on Nymex:
- Wholesale gasoline rose 1 cent to $2.68 a gallon.
- Heating oil was flat at $3.02 a gallon.
- Natural gas rose 1 cent to $4.24 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Pablo Gorondi in Budapest contributed to this report.