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Oil Makes a Comeback from its Recent Slump on Hopes of Higher Demand

“Oil rebounded from the lowest price in almost a week as investors bet that fuel demand may increase amid signs the U.S. and Chinese economies are strengthening.

Futures gained as much as 0.7 percent in New York after losing 1 percent yesterday. U.S. retail sales rose in February by the most in five months, according to a Bloomberg News survey before today’s Commerce Department report. China’s industrial output growth will pick up in March and April, a former industry minister said. Oil has climbed this year on concern tension with Iran may lead to military conflict in the Middle East, where more than half the world’s oil reserves are located.

“Oil prices have been bolstered by better-than-expected leading indicators and ample liquidity,” said Hannes Loacker, an analyst at Raiffeisen Bank International AG (RBI) in Vienna who predicts U.S. futures will average $104 a barrel this year. “Chinese economic growth should be strong enough to prevent the oil price from falling too sharply.”

Oil for April delivery rose as much as 79 cents to $107.13 a barrel in electronic trading on theNew York Mercantile Exchange. It was at $106.86 at 11:44 a.m. London time. The contract yesterday fell $1.06 to $106.34, the lowest settlement since March 7. Prices are 8.1 percent higher this year.

Brent crude for April settlement on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange was up 74 cents, or 0.6 percent, at $126.08. The European benchmark contract was at a premium of $19.22 to New York crude. The spread close at $19 yesterday, the most since Feb. 6….”

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