Crude prices extend gains on lower inventories

08:17, July 09, 2010      

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Oil prices extended gains on Thursday as U.S. crude inventories dropped more than expected.

According to the Energy Information Administration, U.S. crude stockpiles declined 5 million barrels in the week ended July 2 while gasoline stocks increased by 1.3 million barrels. The sharp decline in crude was more than analysts had expected, sending oil prices back to over 75 U.S. dollars a barrel, the level first seen in a week.

Investors were also encouraged by a bullish jobs report which showed the number of workers filing initial claims for jobless benefits dropped by 21,000 to 454,000 in the week ended July 3.

Adding to the optimism, the International Monetary Fund raised its 2010 world growth forecast to 4.6 percent from its previous estimate of 4.2 percent, but warning that debt problems in Europe could stall the rebound.

Light, sweet crude rose 1.37 dollars to settle at 75.44 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

In London, Brent crude gained 1.20 dollars to settle at 74.71 dollars a barrel on the ICE futures exchange.



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