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Crude Hovers Near $102


The price of crude oil was recovering from the past two-session losses Thursday morning, supported by concerns over Iranian oil supplies and China data.

China's service sector expanded notably in March, though at a slower pace compared to the previous month, a survey by Markit Economics revealed. Firms remained fairly upbeat about their business prospects with confidence jumping to a 11-month high. The headline seasonally adjusted HSBC/Markit Business Activity Index, an indicator of activity in the service sector, scored 53.3 in March compared to 53.9 in February.

Light Sweet Crude Oil (WTI) futures for May delivery, edged up $0.30 to $101.77 a barrel. Yesterday oil ended sharply lower at a 7-week low on demand growth concerns after data from the Energy Information Administration revealed a huge increase in U.S. crude stockpiles, more than four times what analysts expected.

Wednesday during trading hours, the EIA said that US crude oil inventories surged by 9.00 million barrels, while gasoline stocks dipped 1.50 million barrels in the weekended March 30. Analysts were expecting crude oil inventories to gain 2.20 million barrels, while gasoline stocks are seen dipping 1.40 million barrels last week.

This morning, the U.S. dollar advanced to a 3-week high versus the euro and the Swiss franc, while gaining to a 2-week high against sterling. The buck continued to tick lower versus the yen.

In economic news from the euro zone, Germany's industrial production declined more than expected in February, data from the Federal Ministry of Economy and Technology showed. Industrial output dropped 1.3 percent in February from a month ago, offsetting January's 1.2 percent growth. Economists had expected a 0.5 percent decrease.

Meanwhile, the Bank of England left its key interest rate unchanged at 0.50 percent, while maintaining its asset purchase program at GBP 325 billion.

Traders will look to the weekly jobless claims data form the US Labor Department, due out at 8.30 a.m. ET. Economists expect the claims to edge up to 360,000 from 359,000 in the previous week.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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