Benchmark crude for September delivery added 41 cents at $70.57 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, Brent crude prices climbed 74 cents to $73.63 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.Oil prices should be depressed right now, given the tepid demand for gasoline and a growing surplus of crude in the U.S. But Newedge analyst Antoine Halff said the tactic of buying oil contracts as a hedge against inflation is ''back with a vengeance.''
Benchmark crude, which is priced in dollars, tends to rise when the dollar falls as foreign investors gain more buying power. It's recently become a convenient place to park large amounts of cash as the dollar loses ground to other currencies.
... government reports showed that the economy remains on shaky ground.The Commerce Department said Thursday that retail sales fell 0.1 percent last month. Economists expected a gain of 0.7 percent. And the Labor Department said initial jobless claims grew more than expected to a seasonally adjusted 558,000.
IF OBAMA WAS CUTTING TAXES AND SPENDING - INSTEAD OF SPENDING MONEY LIKE A DRUNK SAILOR ON ALL HIS CRONIES AND PUSHING FOR HUGE NEW SPENDING PROGRAMS - THEN THE ECONOMY WOULD BE GROWING ALREADY, AS GERMANY'S IS, AND THE DOLLAR WOULD BE STRONG.
WITH A STRONG DOLLAR ENERGY COSTS REMAIN FLAT: THE PRICE MIGHT FIRM UP DUE TO AN INCREASE IN DEMAND, BUY BUYING POWER ALSO STRENGTHENS.