Oil prices rise over prolonged US cold weather

Oil prices rise over prolonged US cold weather

Oil prices jumped Tuesday as traders expected cold weather in the US will boost the demand for heating fuel.

Consumption of heating oil is expected to surge as a winter storm swept across the northeastern US, Xinhua reported.

About 25 percent of households in the US northeast use heating oil to warm their homes, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The EIA is scheduled to release its weekly inventory data Thursday. US heating oil inventories dropped in the past several weeks.

China's credit growth increased in January, which also helped to lift crude prices. The market believed that the top crude consumption country's economy is still healthy.

On the US economic front, the general business conditions index in New York region fell eight points in February, but remained positive at 4.5, according to the Empire State Manufacturing Survey released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Moreover, US builder confidence in the market for newly-built, single-family homes dropped to 46 in February from 56 in January, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index released Tuesday.
The association blamed unusually severe weather conditions for the worse-than- expected reading.

Light, sweet crude for March delivery rose $2.13 to settle at $102.43 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for April delivery gained $1.38 to close at $110.46 a barrel.

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