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Oil Fluctuates After First Gain in Six Days on U.S. Economy

Oct. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Oil was little changed after rising for the first time in six days in New York, ending the longest losing streak since May, on signs U.S. growth is accelerating.

Futures fluctuated after rising 0.4 percent yesterday following reports showing U.S. jobless claims dropped last week and durable goods orders gained. The Commerce Department will probably report economic growth accelerated 1.8 percent in the third quarter, according to a Bloomberg survey.

“Let’s see if we get a little bit of an uptick in the number-one user” of crude, said Jonathan Barratt, the chief executive officer of Barratt’s Bulletin, a commodity newsletter in Sydney. “Anything more than 2 percent growth might launch a bit of a rally.”

Crude for December delivery was at $86.01 a barrel, down 4 cents in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 10:44 a.m. in Tokyo. It rose 32 cents yesterday to settle at $86.05. Prices are down 13 percent this year. Prices have declined 4.3 percent this week, set for a second weekly drop.

Brent oil for December settlement on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange was at $108.53 a barrel, up 4 cents. The European benchmark crude increased 64 cents, or 0.6 percent, to end the session at $108.49 yesterday. It was the first gain in eight days, ending the longest losing streak since July 2010.

Brent was at a premium of $22.52 to New York-traded West Texas Intermediate grade, up from $22.44 yesterday.

Hurricane Sandy

Unemployment claims decreased by 23,000 to 369,000 in the week ended Oct. 20 from a revised 392,000 the prior period, the Labor Department reported yesterday in Washington. The median forecast of 48 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a drop in claims to 370,000.

Demand for durable goods climbed 9.9 percent last month, a Commerce Department report showed. The median forecast of 77 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 7.5 percent gain in orders.

The U.S. economy grew at a 1.8 percent annual rate in the third quarter after expanding at a 1.3 percent pace the prior three months, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

Hurricane Sandy, a Category 2 storm, is on a path that may threaten anywhere from the mid-Atlantic states starting Oct. 28 to southern New England later in the week, depending on the track it takes, said Gary Best, a meteorologist for Hometown Forecast Services Inc. in Nashua, New Hampshire.

Refiners in the region, which includes the New York Harbor, the delivery point for Nymex futures, can process 1.29 million barrels a day, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

As of 8 p.m. New York time, Sandy was located 35 miles (55 kilometers) southeast of Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas, with top winds of 100 miles per hour, a Category 2 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, according to the hurricane center in Miami. It was moving north-northwest at 17 mph.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jacob Adelman in Tokyo at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alexander Kwiatkowski at

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