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Oil Advances a Second Day on Economic Outlook, Syrian Sanctions

Oil rose a second day on bets that signs of economic growth in the U.S. and steps by Europe to tame its debt crisis will boost fuel demand, while sanctions on Syria stoked concern Middle East crude supplies may be threatened.

Futures rose as much as 2.2 percent in New York after gaining 0.6 percent on Nov. 25. U.S. retail sales during Thanksgiving climbed 16 percent to a record. Europe needs treaty changes to tighten budget discipline and calm markets, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told ARD television in Berlin yesterday. The Arab League imposed sanctions on Syria after it failed to stop a crackdown on protesters.

“We’re seeing a risk-on session in Asia,” Ric Spooner, a chief analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney, said by telephone today. “The sanctions cause some people to elevate the risk premium of supply disruptions.”

Crude oil for January delivery advanced as much as $2.11 to $98.88 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile and was at $98.71 at 6:21 p.m. Sydney time. It rose 60 cents to $96.77 on Nov. 25. Prices are 15 percent higher the past year.

Brent oil for January settlement climbed 1.5 percent to $107.92 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark contract’s premium to West Texas Intermediate was at $9.21, compared with $9.63 on Nov. 25 and a record $27.88 on Oct. 14.

Europe, U.S.

U.S. consumers spent a record $52.4 billion during the Thanksgiving weekend, according to the National Retail Federation, citing a survey from BIGresearch.

Treaty change is necessary to give veto power over member-state budgets to the European Union Commission, Schaeuble said. Euro-area finance ministers will meet in Brussels tomorrow as governments bid to regain the confidence of financial markets after a week in which the sovereign debt crisis worsened.

The European Union accounted for 16 percent of world oil demand in 2010, according to BP Plc’s annual Statistical Review of World Energy. The U.S. consumed 19.1 million barrels a day, or 21 percent of the global total.

The Arab League’s unprecedented sanctions on Syria included a freeze on financial assets in Arab countries and a travel ban on senior officials. Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad is under pressure to end an eight-month crackdown against demonstrators. Oil soared to the highest level in more than two years in May as unrest in North Africa and the Middle East toppled leaders in Libya, where crude production was almost entirely halted, Tunisia and Egypt.

Libya, Mexico

Libyan output now exceeds 750,000 barrels a day, and the country’s second-biggest refinery is operating at full capacity, the state-run National Oil Corp. said on its website yesterday. Output slipped to 45,000 barrels daily from about 1.6 million after the revolt against the former regime of Muammar Qaddafi.

Prices also rose after Mexico shut its three largest oil-export terminals because of adverse weather. Petroleos Mexicanos, Latin America’s largest crude producer, closed Cayo Arcas, Coatzacoalcos and Dos Bocas in the Gulf of Mexico, Mexico’s Merchant Marine said yesterday in its daily weather bulletin.

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