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West Texas Intermediate crude rose for the first time in three days as signs of an improving U.S. economy and record new credit in China bolstered the demand outlook for the world’s two biggest oil consumers.
Futures climbed as much as 0.8 percent in New York, extending a fifth weekly gain. China’s aggregate financing, the broadest measure of credit, reached 2.58 trillion yuan ($425 billion) in January, the People’s Bank of China said in a statement on Feb. 15, signaling momentum to sustain growth. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer confidence held at 81.2 this month, topping the median estimate of 80.2 in a Bloomberg News survey of economists.
WTI for March delivery increased as much as 83 cents to $101.13 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, and was at $100.83 at 9:57 a.m. in New York. The contract slid 5 cents to $100.30 on Feb. 14. The volume of all futures traded was about 68 percent below the 100-day average. Prices have advanced 2.4 percent this year.
Floor trading is closed today for the U.S. Presidents Day holiday. Electronic transactions will be booked tomorrow.
Brent for April settlement slipped 4 cents to $109.04 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark crude was at a premium of $8.51 to WTI on ICE, compared with $8.95 on Feb. 14.
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