NEW YORK (AP) — The price of oil rose more than 2 percent Friday as positive economic news from China outweighed expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve would soon start withdrawing its bond-buying program.
Benchmark crude for September delivery gained $2.57, or 2.5 percent, to close at $105.97 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil still finished with a loss of 97 cents for the week.
Meanwhile, U.S. drivers are paying a nickel less on average at the gas pump than they were a week ago. The national average for a gallon of gasoline fell a penny overnight to $3.58. That's the lowest average price since July 13.
China, the world's No. 2 economy after the United States, reported Friday that July's producer prices — the price of goods as they leave factories — fell less rapidly than a year earlier, a sign that demand may be improving. The official Xinhua News Agency said retail sales grew 13.2 percent in July from a year earlier, slightly down from June. Industrial production grew 9.7 percent, up from June's 8.9 percent and the highest year-on-year growth in five months.
Even with Friday's gain for oil, speculation still overhangs the market that the Fed will start phasing out measures that have kept long-term interest rates at record low levels.
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