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Oil prices up on strong U.S. GDP

Trend follows a sharp reversal after a surprise build in U.S. crude oil inventories.

By
Daniel J. Graeber
Oil prices rally in early Thursday trading on reports of steady growth in the U.S. economy. File photo by Monika Graff/UPI
Oil prices rally in early Thursday trading on reports of steady growth in the U.S. economy. File photo by Monika Graff/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- Growth reported Thursday in the U.S. economy helped lift oil prices out of a hole after falling in response to reports of a build in crude oil stockpiles.

Oil prices meandered between weak losses and gains early Wednesday amid competing market narratives. Norway and Libya, a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries exempt from a production cut deal, reported gains in crude oil production. Industry estimates from the United States, meanwhile, forecast a draw in crude oil inventories, suggesting some supply-side strains were easing.

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Oil prices turned lower, however, after the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported a larger-than-expected climb in crude stockpiles at 2.3 million barrels for the week ending Dec. 16.

Oil was trending lower in overnight trading Thursday, but moved up at the start of the trading day in New York following a report on U.S. gross domestic product for the third quarter. The price for Brent crude oil was up 0.8 percent to open the trading day at $54.85 per barrel. The U.S. benchmark price, West Texas Intermediate, was up 0.6 percent to start the day at $52.81 per barrel.

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The Commerce Department reported GDP in the third quarter grew at a revised 3.5 percent in the third quarter, up from the previous estimate of 3.2 percent and more than twice the rate reported during the second quarter of the year.

Corporate profits increased $117.8 billion in the third quarter, compared with a decrease of $12.5 billion in the second quarter. The strengthened economy could support greater demand in the U.S. economy, but add support to more aggressive rate policies from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

A report from the Colorado Office of State Planning and Budget said aggressive rate policies in the past were met by a rise in the value of the U.S. dollar, which weighed on industrial production and global growth during 2015 and early 2016.

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