Oil rises toward $94 as Yellen defends stimulus

LONDON (AP) — The price of oil rose toward $94 a barrel Friday after incoming Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen indicated that economic stimulus will remain in place pending further improvement in the U.S. economy.

Benchmark U.S. crude for December delivery was up 6 cents to $93.82 a barrel, late morning European time, in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract slipped 12 cents to close at $93.76 on Thursday.

Yellen, who is slated to replace Ben Bernanke in late January, testified Thursday to the Senate Banking Committee. She said the U.S. economy has gained ground but still needs the Fed's support because unemployment remains too high at 7.3 percent. The Fed is buying $85 billion of government bonds and mortgage securities a month to keep interest rates low.

The remarks helped offset further signs of oversupply. Data from the Energy Department showed the U.S. produced more crude oil than it imported in October for the first time since 1995. It also showed crude oil supplies rising for an 8th straight week, by 2.6 million barrels.

Brent crude, the benchmark for an international variety of crude, was down 4 cents to $108.24 a barrel on the ICE exchange in London. In other energy futures trading on Nymex: — Wholesale gasoline fell 0.9 cents to $2.675 a gallon.

— Heating oil fell 0.4 cents to $2.927 a gallon. — Natural gas was down 2.2 cents to $3.5832 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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