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Analysts Split on Direction of Crude Oil Price, Survey Shows

Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News were split over the direction of crude oil prices next week amid signals the U.S. economic recovery is accelerating while stockpiles climb.

Ten of 28 analysts, or 36 percent, forecast crude will advance through Dec. 10. Ten more respondents predicted that futures will be steady. Eight said there will be a decline. Last week, 42 percent of analysts expected the market to be little changed.

The number of Americans signing contacts to buy previously owned homes increased a record 10 percent in October, the National Association of Realtors said yesterday in Washington. The number of applications for jobless benefits averaged 431,000 a week over the month ended Nov. 27, the lowest level since August 2008, Labor Department figures showed yesterday.

“The U.S. does look like it’s improving, I feel that it’s on the road to recovery,” said Jonathan Barratt, managing director of Commodity Broking Services Pty in Sydney. “The fundamental picture also shows that we’re still getting an increase in inventories.”

U.S. crude oil supplies increased 1.07 million barrels to 359.7 million in the week ended Nov. 26, an Energy Department report showed Dec. 1. Stockpiles at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for New York futures, increased 910,000 barrels to 34.5 million.

Crude oil futures for January delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange have surged $4.24, or 5.1 percent, to $88 a barrel so far this week. Prices are up 15 percent from a year ago.

The oil survey has correctly predicted the direction of futures 47 percent of the time since its start in April 2004.

     Bloomberg’s survey of oil analysts and traders, conducted
each Thursday, asks for an assessment of whether crude oil
futures are likely to rise, fall or remain neutral in the coming
week. The results were:

                    RISE      NEUTRAL    FALL
                     10         10        8

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