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Crude Oil Surges To Highest Settlement Since 2014

Crude oil futures continued to soar Wednesday, blasting above $61 a barrel for the first time in years.

Analysts say the threat of supply disruptions from the Middle East, dwindling U.S. production, and a weaker dollar have drive oil prices sharply higher over the past month.

WTI light sweet crude oil was up $1.26, or 2.1%, to settle at $61.63/bbl, the highest settlement price since December 2014.

The American Petroleum Institute will report its stockpiles survey this afternoon, followed tomorrow by the Energy Information Administration's weekly report.

In economic news, the Institute for Supply Management released a report on Wednesday showing growth in U.S. manufacturing activity unexpectedly accelerated in the month of December.

The ISM said its purchasing managers index rose to 59.7 in December from 58.2 in November, with a reading above 50 indicating growth in the manufacturing sector. Economists had expected the index to edge down to 58.1.

Meanwhile, the Commerce Department released a report on Wednesday showing a bigger than expected increase in U.S. construction spending in the month of November.

The Commerce Department said construction spending climbed by 0.8 percent to an annual rate of $1.257 trillion in November from a revised $1.247 trillion in October. Economists had expected spending to rise by 0.5 percent.

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