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Oil prices climb on impact of Sandy on US

BANGKOK--Oil prices rose Wednesday after a fierce superstorm that caused havoc across the Northeastern U.S. and was threatening to inflict more damage inland.

Concerns about oil supplies pushed benchmark crude for December delivery up 18 U.S. cents at midday Bangkok time to US$85.86 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 14 cents to finish at US$85.68 a barrel in New York.

Brent crude, used to price many international varieties of crude, fell 9 cents to US$108.99 per barrel.

A hurricane that evolved into a winter superstorm, Sandy cut power to more than 8 million homes, shut down 70 percent of East Coast oil refineries and inflicted worse-than-expected damage in the New York metropolitan area. That area produces about 10 percent of U.S. economic output.

Sandy came ashore Monday evening in New Jersey, dumped heavy rain inland in Pennsylvania on Tuesday and was expected to turn toward New York state and Canada overnight.

The storm will end up causing about US$20 billion in property damage and US$10 billion to US$30 billion more in lost business, according to IHS Global Insight, a forecasting firm.

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