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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Crude slips

Positive economic data restrict the fall

Crude Oil futures drifted lower on Monday, 23 December 2013 at Nymex but continued to hover just below a two-month high as traders weighed signs of an improving U.S. economy.

February crude oil fell 41 cents, or 0.4%, to close at $98.91 a barrel.

In overnight trading the featured news was spiking short-term interest rates in China, mainly due to end-of-quarter and end-of-year pressures on banks to square up their books. The markets are so far mostly ignoring the matter.

Today's economic data at Wall Street was limited to just two reports, neither of which saw a notable reaction in the market. Personal income increased 0.2% in November after declining 0.1% in October. The consensus expected personal income to increase 0.5%. Compensation levels were a little softer than the employment report implied, increasing 0.3% instead of 0.6%. That difference likely caused the weaker-than-expected income gain. Personal spending rose 0.5%, in-line with consensus expectations, after increasing an upwardly revised 0.4% (from 0.3%) in October.

Separately, the December University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index remained at 82.5 in the final reading while the consensus expected the index to be revised up to 83.3.

January natural gas climbed 4 cents to $4.46 per million British thermal units. January