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Oil in holding pattern near $101 a barrel


October 16. 2013 6:36AM
Associated Press

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(AP) Oil was in a holding pattern Wednesday near $101 a barrel as the U.S. government shutdown put the release of weekly crude supplies figures on hold.


Benchmark crude for November delivery was up 18 cents at $101.39 a barrel at late afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.20 to close at $101.21 on Tuesday.


The price of oil has swung back and forth for two weeks as lawmakers attempt to resolve an impasse that has left the government partially closed and the markets worried about the U.S. defaulting on its debt for the first time. The U.S. has to increase the amount of debt it can sell by Oct. 17, the Treasury says.


Government agencies including the Energy Information Administration which keeps track of U.S. crude and fuel supplies have stopped many services. The EIA's weekly report on supplies gives an indication about the strength of demand and often pushes the oil price up or down.


Brent crude, the benchmark used to set prices for international crudes used by many U.S. refineries, was up 8 cents at $109.50 on the ICE futures exchange in London.


In other energy futures trading on Nymex:


Wholesale gasoline rose 0.3 cent to $2.64 a gallon.


Natural gas added 5 cents to $3.84 per 1,000 cubic feet.


Heating oil gained 0.7 cent to $3.024 a gallon.


Associated Press


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