Crude oil ends week with 2.2% gain on improving U.S. economy, supply concerns

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The price of oil rose slightly Friday, finishing the week just over two per cent higher amid signs of stronger economic growth in the United States and global supply concerns.

Benchmark West Texas Intermedite crude for May delivery gained 39 cents to close at US$101.67 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. For the week, oil rose 2.2 per cent.

Concerns are growing in energy markets about supply from Nigeria, which produces about 2.5 million barrels of oil daily. There have been reports of sabotage at a pipeline, where leaks have forced Shell Nigeria to halt exports from its Forcados terminal since March 4.

Meanwhile, the recovery in the U.S. economy signals greater demand ahead. The Commerce Department on Thursday raised its economic growth estimate for the last quarter of 2013 to 2.6 per cent from 2.4 per cent, largely because of higher consumer spending.

In other markets, Brent crude, a benchmark for international varieties of oil, was up 24 cents to US$108.07 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

Elsewhere on the Nymex, wholesale gasoline slipped one cent to US$2.94 a U.S. gallon (3.79 litres), heating oil rose one cent to US$2.96 a gallon and natural gas dropped five cents to US$4.49 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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