Markets

Oil up above $101 as US growth rate revised higher

The price of oil advanced past $101 a barrel Thursday amid an upward revision to U.S. growth figures and continuing supply concerns.

By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark U.S. crude for May delivery was up $1.06 to $101.32 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Wednesday, it jumped $1.07 to close at $100.26.

Brent crude, a contract for international varieties of oil, was up 55 cents at $107.58 on the ICE Futures exchange in London. The American economy grew by 2.6 percent in the last three months of 2013, up from an earlier estimate of 2.4 percent, 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 6.3 million barrels, more than twice the gain expected by analysts, 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. "Oil output outages in Libya and Nigeria continue to add price strength to the Brent market, and the Ukraine affair is the latest geopolitical wrinkle."

In other energy futures trading on Nymex: — Wholesale gasoline rose 2.94 cents at $2.9357 a gallon. — Heating oil added 2.41 cents at $2.9419 a gallon. — Natural gas advanced 1.9 cents to $4.421 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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