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Oil up on Alcoa results despite Europe joblessness

BANGKOK (AP) — The price of oil hovered above $93 Wednesday after aluminum giant Alcoa forecast higher demand for 2013, offsetting a dour jobs report from Europe.

Benchmark oil for February delivery was up 10 cents to $93.25 per barrel at late afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 4 cents to finish at $93.15 a barrel in New York.

Demand for aluminum has been hurt by the weak global economy, but Alcoa predicted a 7 percent increase in demand this year, slightly better than the 6 percent increase in 2012. The company's fourth-quarter earnings were in line with forecasts while revenue exceeded Wall Street expectations.

But on the negative side, unemployment in the 17 countries that use the euro rose to 11.8 percent in November from 11.7 percent in October, the highest jobless rate since the euro was founded in 1999.

"The outlook for global commodities is likely to remain uncertain in the next twelve months with low growth hampering demand especially in Europe," Michael Hewson of CMC Markets said in an email commentary.

Oil traders will be monitoring fresh information this week on U.S. supplies of crude and refined products.

Data for the week ended Jan. 4 is expected to show a rise of 1.5 million barrels for crude oil and an increase of 2.6 million barrels in gasoline stocks, according to a survey of analysts by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos. The Energy Department's Energy Information Administration releases its crude inventories report later Wednesday.

Brent crude, used to price international varieties of oil, was up 15 cents to $112.09 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange:

— Wholesale gasoline fell 1.7 cents to $2.777 a gallon.

— Heating oil rose 0.6 cent to $3.065 a gallon.

— Natural gas fell 2.3 cents to $3.195 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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