Crude oil rally takes a breather

Feb. 20, 2014 at 3:58 PM
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NEW YORK, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Crude oil prices pulled away from a rally Thursday, as traders contemplated sluggish manufacturing activity in China.

A flash estimate of China's Markit Economics/HSBC Purchasing Managers Index for February came in at 48.3, a seven-month low that follows January's 49.5 level.

The index indicates growth with figures above 50. Below 50 indicates a contraction.

On the flip side, crude oil continues to find support from a high demand prompted by a colder-than-average winter and from a weak U.S. dollar.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude oil shed 50 cents to $102.92 per barrel. Natural gas, lost 11 cents to $6.01 per million British thermal units.

Reformulated blendstock gasoline prices added 2.24 cents to $2.8433 per gallon.

Heating oil prices added 2.43 cents to $3.178 per gallon.

At the pump, the national average price for a gallon of unleaded rose from Tuesday's $3.366 per gallon to $3.375, the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report said.

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