Oil prices rise to two-year high on growing confidence

16:32, December 24, 2010      

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Positive economic data, a weaker dollar and favorable inventory reports helped push up crude oil prices, which hit a two-year high in the last pre-Christmas week.

U.S. benchmark crude for February delivery on Thursday, the last trading day before Christmas, rose for the fifth straight day by 1.03 dollars to 91.51 dollars a barrel, its highest since October 2008.

London Brent North Sea crude settled up 60 cents to 94.25 dollars a barrel, also first seen since October 2008.

At the start of this holiday-shortened week, benchmark crude oscillated at around 88 dollars a barrel.

As the trading session progressed, oil prices took up momentum from a number of factors and went onto a fast up-going path.

The U.S. Commerce Department on Wednesday revised the country's GDP growth for the third quarter up to 2.6 percent from a prior estimate of 2.5. It also reported improvement in several major economic indicators in November, including personal consumption expenditures, personal income, sales of new homes and durable goods orders.

Meanwhile, the overall index on consumer sentiment came in at 74.5 percent in December, its highest level since June, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's final report.

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