Crude above $101 a barrel on higher than expected US GDP; supply worries

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The price of oil advanced past US$101 a barrel Thursday following an upward revision to U.S. growth figures and ongoing concerns about tight supplies.

Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery rose $1.02 to close at US$101.28 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That is the highest closing price in three weeks. On Wednesday, oil jumped $1.07 to close at US$100.26.

Brent crude, a contract for international varieties of oil, gained 80 cents to US$107.83 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

The American economy grew by 2.6 per cent in the last three months of 2013, up from an earlier estimate of 2.4 per cent, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. The improvement was attributed to higher consumer spending, which suggests demand for energy might be stronger than expected.

Meanwhile, there remained some concerns over supplies. A report by the U.S. Energy Department on Wednesday showed that while crude oil supplies increased 6.6 million barrels in the latest week surveyed, that was offset by declines in gasoline stocks.

“Gains are being maintained … as geopolitical tensions and supply issues that never seem to fully recede support prices,” said the Kilduff Report edited by Michael Fitzpatrick.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex, wholesale gasoline rose three cents to US$2.94 a U.S. gallon (3.79 litres), heating oil added three cents to US$2.94 a gallon and natural gas advanced 18 cents to US$4.58 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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