Oil inches up in late trade reversal


CRUDE oil prices wavered yesterday but finished higher in a late trading reversal as European leaders prepared to discuss a slate of proposals to stabilize the region's economy.

Benchmark US crude added 15 cents to end the day at US$79.36 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Brent crude added US$2.01 to end at US$93.02 per barrel in London. Brent jumped after Norway announced that crude production will decline in the North Sea after about 700 oil workers went on strike. Brent crude comes from the North Sea.

The eurozone economy has struggled for years to overcome a collapse in property values caused by the recession and huge government debts. Now, a failure by Europe's leaders to finally find a solution would likely push the eurozone economy back into recession and cut energy demand in a region that consumes 16 percent of the world's oil.

Prices have wavered between small gains and losses in the yesterday session.

They turned down in morning trading after a report showing that consumer confidence in the US fell in June for the fourth straight month over lingering worries about the economy

The situation in Europe, combined with a slowdown in US hiring and a drop in Chinese manufacturing activity, has contributed to the sharp drop in oil prices since the winter. Benchmark US crude hit a high of US$110.55 per barrel, while Brent topped out at US$128.40, both on March 1.

In other futures trading, heating oil added 3.8 cents to finish at US$2.5765 per gallon while wholesale gasoline was steady, ending the day at US$2.6451 per gallon. Natural gas added 7.3 cents to finish at US$2.767 per 1,000 cubic feet.


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