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Oil prices rise on upbeat U.S. economic data


09:12, August 01, 2013

Oil prices advanced on Wednesday after a report showed that U.S. economic growth was higher than expected in the second quarter of the year.

The U.S. real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 1.7 percent in the second quarter of 2013, according to an "advance" estimate released Wednesday by the Commerce Department. Analysts had forecast 1.1 percent.

Moreover, private-sector employment increased by 200,000 jobs in July, higher than June's upwardly revised figure of 198,000 and market forecast, according to a report released by payroll processor Automatic Data Processing Inc.

However, oil prices were pressured by a government report showing that U.S. inventories of crude oil surprisingly expanded last week.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA)'s weekly petroleum inventories report said that a rise in oil imports fed a 0.4 million barrel increase in oil inventories to 364.6 million in the week ending July 26.

The oil market did not react strongly to a statement from the Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Committee, which said the Fed would keep purchasing 85 billion dollars of assets per month and the ultra low interest rate to stimulate economy.

After a two-day policy meeting, Fed policymakers said in a statement Wednesday that U.S. economic activities have expanded at a "modest" pace in the first half of the year.

Investors are still waiting for the U.S. non-farm payrolls report for July, which is due to be released by the Labor Department on Friday.

Light, sweet crude for September delivery went up 1.95 U.S. dollars to settle at 105.03 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Brent for September delivery increased 79 cents to close at 107. 70 dollars a barrel.

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