Oil Prices Rise 3% on Improved U.S. Economic Outlook

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Oil Prices Rise 3% on Improved U.S. Economic OutlookOil prices rose Wednesday as reports of higher U.S. productivity and more domestic hiring combined with continuing growth in demand from China to offset the effects of lackluster economic data from other countries.

Crude for January delivery had increased $2.60, about 3%, to $86.71 at about 3:40 p.m. in New York Mercantile Exchange trading. Oil had been trading as low as about $81 a barrel earlier in the week. The price increases largely reflect a U.S. economy that has displayed growing signs of recovery in recent weeks. Private employers added 93,000 jobs in November, the largest increase in three years, ADP (ADP) reported Wednesday.

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Meanwhile, the Commerce Department last week revised its third-quarter gross domestic product growth figure up to 2.5% from its earlier estimate of 2%. Earlier, the Commerce Department said third-quarter consumer spending increased at its fastest pace in almost four years.

Additionally, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing's purchasing managers index rose to 55.2 last month from 54.7 in October, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.

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