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Crude Prices Jump Above 59 Dollars on Rising Fuel Demand
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Crude oil prices jumped over 59 dollars a barrel on New York Mercantile Exchange, setting the highest close this year, on rising fuel demand and OPEC supplies cut.

US crude for March delivery rose 1.72 dollars, or 3 percent, to close at 59.02 dollars a barrel, jumping 6.5 percent for the week.

London Brent crude gained 1.69 dollars to 58.41 dollars a barrel.

Crude prices fell below 50 dollars a barrel on Jan. 18 in New York, hitting their lowest levels since May 2005 due to a sharp increase in US crude stocks and an unusual warm weather.

However the prices have rebounded since last week as cold weather hit the US Northeast, the biggest heating oil market in the world, spurring demand for heating fuel.

Forecasters said on Friday the coldest weather of the season could hit the US Northeast this weekend.

OPEC's supplies cut and unrest in Nigeria helped crude prices' rebound.

OPEC has vowed to reduce supply by half a million barrels per day from Feb. 1 following a 1.2 million-barrel-per day cut since November.

Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil producer, said earlier this week that it was to tighten its spigots.

A senior Saudi oil official said the kingdom had advised its customers of the impending 158,000 barrel-a-day cut, which took effect on Feb. 1, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The report also said Saudi Arabia's 1-million-barrel reduction nearly doubles the total cuts it agreed to make under two output reductions hammered out by OPEC at meetings in Doha, Qatar in October and in Abuja, Nigeria in December.

Threats of a strike by two main oil workers' unions in Nigeria, the world's No. 8 exporter, over poor security in the Niger Delta region, helped spur prices higher.
(Xinhua News Agency February 3, 2007)

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