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Oil climbed, heading for a second quarterly gain, after reports showed that U.S. consumer sentiment and spending gained and euro-area finance ministers agreed to boost rescue funds.
Futures increased as much as 0.9 percent as the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan final index of consumer sentiment unexpectedly rose in March for a seventh straight month. U.S. purchases, the biggest part of the economy, gained the most since July. Commodities advanced after European governments capped fresh rescue lending at 500 billion euros ($666 billion).
The consumer sentiment index rose to 76.2 from 75.3 at the end of last month. It was projected to come in at 74.5 after a preliminary figure of 74.3, according to the median of 63 estimates from economists. U.S. consumer purchases gained 0.8 percent in February, the Commerce Department said.
The total size of the European anti-crisis firewall was brought to 800 billion euros, according to a statement after a meeting in Copenhagen today. Efforts to raise it will succeed in tempering the debt crisis, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said yesterday.
Crude oil for May delivery rose to $103.69 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices are up 4.7 percent for the quarter after a gain of 25 percent in the last quarter of 2011.
Brent oil for May settlement gained 81 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $123.20 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark contract’s premium to New York-traded West Texas Intermediate oil was at $19.74, compared with yesterday’s close of $19.61, the widest gap in five months.
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