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Oil prices close in on $101

May 27 2011 08:29
Singapore - Oil prices crept higher to near $101 a barrel Friday in Asia as a weaker dollar overrode signs of tepid U.S. economic growth.

Benchmark oil for July delivery was up 52 cents to $100.75 a barrel at midday Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.09 to settle at $100.23 on Thursday.

In London, Brent crude for July delivery was up 33 cents at $115.38 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

The euro rose to $1.4259 on Friday from $1.4135 late Thursday while the dollar fell to 81.10 yen from 81.37 yen. A weaker US currency makes dollar-based commodities such as oil cheaper for investors with other currencies.

The Commerce Department confirmed Thursday that the US economy grew at a lackluster annual rate of 1.8 percent in the first quarter as high gasoline prices weighed on consumer spending. Also, the Labor Department reported that more people applied for unemployment benefits last week.

Some analysts expect that falling crude demand will drag oil prices down over the next few months.

"A weaker dollar could bolster buying interest in oil as an asset class," Ritterbusch and Associates said in a report. "But our view is that demand destruction will win out over the currency factor into the summer period."




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