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Page added on July 30, 2008

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Energy Prices Are Bright Sliver in Grim Economy

The sharp drop in energy prices since the beginning of the month is turning into a rare bright spot in a bleak economic landscape.

For the moment, at least, fears of a prolonged energy shock seem to have subsided a bit.

Oil has fallen more than $23 a barrel, or 16 percent, since peaking on July 3. Gasoline has slipped below $4 a gallon and is dropping fast as Americans drive less. Natural gas prices, which had risen the fastest this year as traders anticipated a hot summer, have fallen 33 percent since the beginning of the month.

Crude oil prices extended their decline on Tuesday, falling 2.5 percent, to $122.19 a barrel, their lowest level since the beginning of May. This helped spur a broad rally in the stock market, with all major indexes rising more than 2 percent. But stock markets still remain close to the lows of earlier this month, when they officially entered bear-market territory.

New York Times

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