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by Stockwatch Business Reporter
West Texas Intermediate crude for February delivery added $1.86 to $80.26 on the New York Merc, while Brent for March added $2.45 to $85.91 (all figures in this para U.S.). Western Canadian Select traded at a discount of $27.50 to WTI, unchanged. Natural gas for February lost eight cents to $4.48. The TSX energy index added 1.20 points to close at 243.00.
Oil prices ended the year with their second annual gain in a row. Relative to 2021, when prices soared by more than 50 per cent from the start of the year, this year's gain of 7 to 10 per cent appears far less dramatic -- but belies one of the most volatile 12 months in memory. Russia's invasion of Ukraine sent prices spiking into the $130-(U.S.)-a-barrel range in March. After enjoying spring in the triple digits, prices spent the second half of the year sliding all the way into the mid-$70s (U.S.), on global recession fears and Chinese COVID jitters. With the reopening of China's economy and harsher sanctions on Russian production, analysts are generally forecasting higher prices, perhaps even a return to triple digits, in 2023.
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