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(Reuters) - Oil prices rose more than 2 percent on Friday on support from the continuing tensions over Iran's disputed nuclear program and the potential for supply disruptions in the region along with the weaker dollar.
Crude futures posted marginal weekly losses, but rose for the day after slumping the previous session on news the United States and Britain were preparing a release from strategic oil reserves later this year.
The dollar weakened after a report on U.S. consumer prices, which investors viewed as reducing the likelihood of the Federal Reserve tightening monetary policy anytime soon. <USD/>
U.S. consumer prices rose the most in 10 months in February as the cost of gasoline spiked, but there was little sign that underlying inflation pressures were building up.
"The reasoning is that the Fed will not be as likely to pull back on stimulus or raise interest rates, so the dollar weakened and that pushed up oil, along with the uncertainty about Iran and the SPR," said Phil Flynn, analyst at PFGBest Research in Chicago.
U.S. gasoline and heating oil also rose sharply, tagging along as Brent crude moved higher and boosted by news that Enterprise Products Partners (EPD.N) shut a U.S. Gulf Coast-to-Midwest refined products pipeline because of a valve leak.
Brent May crude rose $3.21 to settle at $125.81 a barrel, surging above its 20-day and 10-day moving averages and reaching $126.10 ahead of the close. For the week, Brent fell a mere 17 cents.
U.S. April crude rose $1.95 to settle at $107.06 a barrel, reaching $107.25 and also pushing above its 10-day and 20-day moving averages. For the week, U.S. crude dipped 34 cents.
Brent's premium to U.S. crude, now comparing May contracts, ended at $18.23 a barrel based on settlements.
AgentR11 wrote:Finally, its suggested that there is something lethal about the above chart. Far from it. Its perfectly fine; though the deficit part should probably be restrained some at this point.
Have you been eating more at restaurants with waiters rather than fast-food joints?
If so, you are not alone, and that in fact is an indication that the American economy is improving.
Over the 12 months through January, sales at what the government calls full-service restaurants were 8.7 percent higher than in the previous 12 months. That was the fastest pace of growth since the late 1990s, when the economy was booming. Moreover, as is seen in the accompanying charts, that rate was much greater than the rate of growth in sales at limited-service restaurants.
Since those numbers became available 20 years ago, that difference has been a reliable indicator of how the economy is going. In tough times, people may still eat out, but they cut back.
Full-service restaurants may or may not be expensive. Le Bernardin in Manhattan qualifies, but so does Red Lobster. The range at limited-service places is not nearly as wide.
Americans now spend about $220 billion a year at full-service restaurants, and $211 billion at the limited-service places. (They also spend $21 billion at what the government calls “drinking places,” also known as bars. Bar sales are now rising slower than at either type of restaurant, although history does not indicate that has any particular significance for the economy.)
To my knowledge, no previous article has pointed to the relative sales-growth figures at different types of restaurants as an economic indicator. The lack of attention from economists may be partly because of the fact that the government releases the restaurant figures on a delayed basis and does not offer seasonal adjustments for the sectors. The Census Bureau reported the January numbers this week as it reported overall retail sales for February, and most attention was focused on the fact that overall sales improved in February and that figures for the previous two months were revised upward.
As can be seen from the charts, over time the relative sales trends of the different types of restaurants have generally coincided with changes in the gross domestic product numbers. But recently, that relationship seems to have broken down, with the economy growing much more slowly than the restaurant numbers would indicate.
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