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Oil prices jump 11% on retail, OPEC
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Crude oil jumped more than 11% to settle above US$47 US a barrel on Thursday on a better-than-expected US retail sales data and OPEC meeting in Vienna this weekend.

Light, sweet crude for April delivery rallied US$4.70  to settle at US$47.03 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The US Commerce Department reported that retail sales dropped 0.1% in February, which was better than the 0.5% drop expected by economists. Investors believe it may signal that consumer spending could be stabilizing.

OPEC will meet on Sunday to discuss output policy and investors have been speculating that the oil cartel will talk about stricter compliance with its existing production cuts. Some members including Venezuela and Iran have said that further output cut is necessary.

In London, Brent crude gained US$3.69 to US$45.09 a barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange.

(Xinhua News Agency March 13, 2009)

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