Oil rises slightly

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Commodities - International Oil Report

NEW YORK :Oil rose slightly on Friday as concerns about gasoline supplies following a Canadian refinery outage outweighed data showing an unexpected rise in US job cuts. A fire at Korea National Oil Corp s Newfoundland refinery damaged the plant s 115,000 barrel per day facility s Isomax unit, hitting gasoline production.

There s a lot of buying interest in gasoline futures right now, from all different types of players, after news of a refinery fire at the Come by Chance refinery in Canada, said Joe Possillico, broker at MF Global in New York. Gasoline futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange traded up nearly 1 percent on the news, and helped push US crude prices up 9 cents to settle at $82.75 a barrel. London Brent crude fell 14 cents to settle at $81.37 a barrel.

Crude had traded down earlier in the day after US employers unexpectedly cut 85,000 jobs in December, cooling optimism on the labour market s recovery and keeping pressure on President Barack Obama to find ways to spur job growth. Weak demand in the United States and other developed economies have weighed on oil prices, with energy markets looking to wider economic data for signs of a turnaround.

A dip in the dollar versus the euro also lent support to prices. A weaker dollar tends to boost oil because it makes it cheaper for non-dollar buyers. Earlier this week, oil rose to a 15-month high of $83.52 a barrel as a prolonged cold snap in the key heating hubs of the US Northeast and Europe boosted demand for heating oil and led to a draw in both onshore and floating stocks.

Temperatures are set to remain well below normal throughout much of the United States into the weekend, and in Europe for at least another 10 days, according to private forecaster DTN Meteorlogix. Tensions between Russia and Belarus over oil supplies have also supported prices this month following news that Russia briefly cut exports to its neighbour. Two days of talks between Belarus and Russia over the supply of Russian oil for 2010 have ended with no result. A high level delegation from Minsk will fly to Moscow on Saturday.

Courtesy : Business Recorder


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