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"Oil Prices Could Hit $100 a Barrel by Year’s End"

Higher energy prices sure won’t be a tonic for the “resilient” American consumer, who – if he hasn’t been laid off – is already struggling with stagant wages, worrying about his home being worth less than the mortgage, and attempting to repay some of his debts….

Crude oil rose after a U.S. government report showed supplies plunged the most since 2002 as imports tumbled and refineries bolstered fuel output.

Inventories fell 9.85 million barrels to 346 million last week, the Energy Department said. Stockpiles were forecast to decrease by 2.5 million barrels, according to a Bloomberg News survey. Imports fell 15 percent to 7.69 million barrels, the lowest level since September 2008. Refineries operated at 88 percent of capacity, the most since September.

“The crude numbers are shocking,” said Andre Julian, chief financial officer and senior market strategist at OpVest Wealth Management in Irvine, California. “A near-term shortage of crude in the U.S. is forming. Prices could easily hit $100 by the end of the year based on this report.”

http://www.bloomberg…stockpiles.html

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