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Oil supplies bulge, fears shrink

Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - 01:14

April 18 - U.S. crude supplies saw their biggest four-week rise since February 2008, putting pressure on oil prices, which is easing concerns higher oil prices could derail the economic recovery. Conway G. Gittens reports.

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Traders at the New York Mercantile Exchange are pushing the sell button - sending crude oil prices to lows not seen in about a week. The trigger: weekly inventory data. U.S. crude supplies saw their biggest four-week rise in 3 years thanks to a big build up on the West Coast. That rise is offsetting dwindling supplies in other parts of the energy complex. Gasoline inventories dropped for the ninth straight week; and distillate supplies, like home heating oil, were near a 3-1/2 year low. There's been a lot of concern about the impact of higher energy costs on the economy, but so far the impact seems negligible with consumer spending holding up. Here's one reason why: At around $103 a barrel, the price of U.S. NYMEX crude is up more than 5 percent year-to-date, but down 4 percent compared to this time last year. Analysts say for now, economic uncertainties involving Europe and China are likely to keep price gains in check, barring an uptick in geo-political risk. Conway Gittens, Reuters

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Oil supplies bulge, fears shrink

Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - 01:14