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Oil price gains on rising US vehicle sales


February 16. 2013 10:03PM
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(AP) Oil prices rose Wednesday after U.S. vehicle sales rose sharply last month, a sign that fuel consumption could be on the way up in the world's No. 1 economy.


Benchmark crude for October delivery was up 6 cents at $95.36 a barrel at midday Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.17 to close at $95.30 per barrel on the Nymex on Tuesday.


Brent crude fell 18 cents to $114 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.


U.S. new car and truck sales rose 20 percent in August to 1.3 million vehicles, according to Autodata Corp. With U.S. home construction starting to recover, contractors are buying more trucks to haul equipment and crews to sites. Big pickup sales drove the increase.


Energy market sentiment was further lifted by expectations that stimulus measures will soon be announced in Europe, the U.S. and China that could boost economic growth worldwide.


The European Central Bank President Mario Draghi is expected to reveal a program Thursday aimed at easing borrowing costs. Last week Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke suggested the Fed could do the same. A weak manufacturing report in China raised speculation that the Chinese government would also announce stimulus measures.


In other futures trading in New York, natural gas rose 1 cent to $2.86 per thousand cubic feet.


Wholesale gasoline fell marginally to $2.95 per gallon. Heating oil rose less than 1 cent to $3.15 per gallon.


Associated Press


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