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[NEW YORK] Oil prices continued to rise on Thursday, making for a second straight day of increases in what has been a bearish market since June.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, a barrel of oil for September delivery rose US$1.10 to US$41.93.
North Sea Brent for October delivery also rose US$1.19 to US$44.29 a barrel on the Intercontinental Exchange in London.
According to Andy Lipow of Lipow Oil Associates, weekly data released Wednesday by the Energy Department helped nudge some prices higher.
The department said gasoline inventories were down 1.4 per cent at 238.2 million barrels, though still nearly 10 per cent over their level of 12 months ago.
But US crude stocks were up 0.3 per cent and 14.8 per cent above the same point last year at 522.5 million barrels.
"Yesterday, the market was led by gasoline due to the inventory draw and that precipitated some short covering on the market as it had gotten very bearish. Now that short covering is continuing," said Mr Lipow.
"We've seen prices go from US$51 a barrel about a month ago down to about US$40," he added.
"A lot of hedge funds had gone really short and have to cover or they may be taking some profit by covering their short."