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VOL. 37 | NO. 34 | Friday, August 23, 2013

Oil remains above $105 ahead of US housing data

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BANGKOK (AP) — The price of oil rose Friday ahead of house sales figures that could show further improvement in the U.S. economy.

Benchmark oil for October delivery was up 18 cents to $105.21 per barrel at late afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.18 to close at $105.03 on Thursday.

The eurozone's purchasing managers' index, a key gauge of growth in the manufacturing and services industries, rose to 51.7 points in August from 50.4 in July, according to financial information company Markit.

It was the highest reading since June 2011 and supported expectations that Europe's recovery from recession is gaining momentum. Still, traders said the recovery was uneven and driven by outsized momentum from Germany.

"Output levels slowed notably in France in both the sectors, in sharp contrast to strong outcomes out of Germany. This validates the fragile nature of the turnaround in activity," said analysts at DBS Bank in Singapore in a commentary.

Traders will turn their attention later in the day to the release by the U.S. government of new home sales for July. The data is key to evaluating the strength of the housing market, a critical element of the overall economy.

Brent crude, which sets prices for imported oil used by many U.S. refineries, rose 7 cents to $109.97 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

— Heating oil was steady at $3.073 per gallon.

— Natural gas fell 1.5 cents to $3.53 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Wholesale gasoline gained 0.3 cent to $2.841 per gallon.

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 0 0
MORTGAGES 0 0 0
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 0 0
BUILDING PERMITS 0 0 0
BANKRUPTCIES 0 0 0
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 0 0
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0