Oil steady after stronger US economic growth

Oil steady after stronger economic growth data in world's No. 1 economy

Associated Press

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) -- The price of oil was steady Friday after being buoyed by stronger economic growth in the world's largest economy.

Benchmark U.S. crude for January delivery was up 2 cents at $97.40 a barrel at midafternoon Kuala Lumpur time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Thursday, oil rose to near $98 for the first time in five weeks before closing at $97.38, up 18 cents.

U.S. data showed the outlook for hiring is improving and the economy is growing at its fastest pace in more than a year.

The Commerce Department said the U.S. economy grew at a 3.6 percent annual rate in July through September, the fastest since early 2012. The numbers signaled some momentum in the economy, although some economists cautioned that nearly half the growth came from a buildup in business stockpiles, a trend that could reverse in the current quarter.

Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, gained 27 cents to $111.25 a barrel on the ICE exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline rose 0.7 cent to $2.719 a gallon.

— Heating oil added 0.3 cent to $3.053 a gallon.

— Natural gas eased 0.6 cent to $4.126 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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