Oil prices bounce back on bargain-hunting following drop

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The price of oil recouped some recent losses Friday as traders calmed down from earlier jitters about an oil supply glut amid slipping gasoline demand.

Benchmark U.S. oil for February delivery was up 79 cents to US$92.45 a barrel at 1 a.m. ET on Friday in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 67 cents to $91.66 on Thursday, its lowest close in eight months.

Bargain-hunting kicked in following two days of decline that was sparked by the U.S. Energy Department’s report that supplies of gasoline rose by 6.2 million barrels last week. The jump of nearly 3 per cent may be a possible sign of falling gasoline demand.

Although the unusually cold winter in the U.S. is expected to fuel demand for refined oil products, global supplies of oil are ample despite some persisting concerns about political instability in the Middle East.

Brent crude, used to set prices for international varieties of crude, gained 35 cents to $106.31 on the ICE exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline added 0.9 cent to $2.652 a gallon.

— Natural gas rose 0.8 cent to $4.013 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Heating oil gained 1.1 cents to $2.933 a gallon.

(TSX:ECA, TSX:IMO, TSX:SU, TSX:HSE, NYSE:BP, NYSE:COP, NYSE:XOM, NYSE:CVX, TSX:CNQ, TSX:TLM, TSX:COS.UN, TSX:CVE)

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