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Oil prices rise despite downbeat economic data

English.news.cn   2014-03-01 05:49:36

NEW YORK, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- U.S. oil prices edged up on Friday despite that the U.S. government cut its estimate of the economic growth in the fourth quarter of last year.

U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 2.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013, down sharply from the 3.2 percent pace estimated in January and below the 4.1 percent pace logged in the third quarter, the Commerce Department said.

However, analysts disregarded the tepid growth number as in a large part due to unusually cold weather.

Providing a boost to the market, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's final reading of consumer sentiment index for February came slightly above market consensus, standing at 81.6 compared with its preliminary estimate of 81.2.

U.S. pending home sales were essentially unchanged in January, according to the National Association of Realtors, with the forward-looking indicator based on contract signings edging up 0.1 percent to 95.0 in January from an upwardly revised 94.9 in December.

Crude prices were also supported by a weaker U.S. dollar. The dollar slumped against other major currencies on discouraging U.S. GDP data.

The weaker dollar makes crude oil prices cheaper and more attractive for buyers holding other currencies.

Light, sweet crude for April delivery moved up 19 cents to settle at 102.59 U.S. dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for April delivery gained 11 cents to close at 109.07 dollars a barrel.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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