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Oil rises to $80 for first time since November

Oil rises to $80 for first time since November

Oil prices ended 2009 with a bang, surging by about $10 a barrel in the final two weeks as the country's crude supplies started to shrink.
Benchmark crude for February delivery added 8 cents to settle at $79.36 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Crude barrels are 71 percent more expensive than they were at the beginning of the year.
Prices have rallied since March, moving opposite the dollar. Oil barrels are priced in dollars, and when the dollar slumped this year, crude contracts became easier to buy for investors with foreign money.
Oil got an additional boost in December as temperatures dropped and homeowners cranked up the heat. The country's oil stockpile fell by 10.1 million barrels in December, and oil prices perked up in response.
They pulled pump prices higher as well. Retail gas prices finished the year with six straight days of price increases.
The U.S. average added 1.6 cents overnight to $2.639, according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. A gallon of regular unleaded is 1.2 cents more expensive than a month ago and $1.022 more expensive than the same time last year.
The government also said Thursday that new claims for unemployment benefits dropped unexpectedly last week _ an encouraging sign that the U.S. economy may soon begin creating jobs and put more motorists on the road.
Meanwhile, natural gas dropped for the fourth straight week, according to the Energy Information Administration. The nation's supply is still well above the five-year average, however, and last week's draw of 124 billion cubic feet was less than what analysts expected.
In other Nymex trading in January contracts, heating oil rose 2.18 cents to $2.1311 a gallon and gasoline advanced 1.59 cents to $2.0565 a gallon. The February contract for natural gas gave up 18.2 cents, more than 3 percent, at $5.527 per 1,000 cubic feet.
In London, Brent crude for February delivery rose 41 cents to $78.44 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.
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Associated Press Writer Pablo Gorondi contributed to this story from Budapest, Hungary.


Updated : 2021-05-09 20:42 GMT+08:00