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by Stockwatch Business Reporter
West Texas Intermediate crude for March delivery added 55 cents to $73.86 on the New York Merc, while Brent for April added 62 cents to $79.21 (all figures in this para U.S.). Western Canadian Select traded at a discount of $19.15 to WTI, up from a discount of $19.45. Natural gas for March lost four cents to $1.97. The TSX energy index added a fraction of a point to close at 235.26.
Oil prices headed higher for the third day in a row, as investors sifted through mixed reports and chose to favour the bullish ones. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released weekly data showing that U.S. crude supplies rose by 5.5 million barrels last week, considerably higher than analysts' predictions of an increase of 1.9 million barrels. In its separate Short-Term Energy Outlook, however, the EIA predicted that Brent oil prices "will rise into the mid-$80-[U.S.]-per-barrel range in the coming months," adding that "ongoing risks of supply disruptions in the Middle East create the potential for crude oil prices to be higher than our forecast."
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