Crude oil rose to a two week high as U.S. consumers spent more over the Thanksgiving weekend than last year, a sign confidence in the economy is strengthening. Oil climbed above $85 a barrel as the average U.S. shopper increased purchases by 6.4 percent from the 2009 period, a report from the National Retail Federation showed. Crude also advanced amid speculation that colder than normal weather may boost demand for heating fuel in the eastern U.S. and Europe.
“People are looking at a pretty decent retail environment, and that’s giving oil a boost,” said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research in Winchester, Massachusetts. “Cold weather is more bullish earlier in the season than later. If people turn on their heaters early and they stay on, that’s good for the season.” Oil for January delivery climbed $1.97, or 2.4 percent, to $85.73 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest settlement since Nov. 11. Futures have gained 13 percent in the past year.
Brent crude for January settlement rose $1.76, or 2.1 percent, to $87.34 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London. About 212 million shoppers went to stores and websites over the holiday weekend in the U.S., on average spending $365.34, the Washington based National Retail Federation reported. Temperatures in the eastern half of the U.S. will be below normal from Dec. 7 to Dec. 13, according to a forecast issued today by the U.S. Climate Prediction Center in Camp Springs, Maryland......Read the entire article.
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