Ridiculous: Oil Ends 2009 Up 78%, USO finishes Up 18%

Oil Prices

U.S. crude for February delivery settled up 8 cents at $79.36 a barrel, compared with a close of $44.60 on December 31, 2008.   However oil prices are still almost half the all-time high of $147.27 hit in July 2008.  Yet the United States Oil Fund LP (ETF) (NYSE:USO) closed up 18% in 2009 -- Ridiculous.

The United States Oil Fund LP (ETF) (NYSE:USO) has swung from $22 to $41.92 over the past 52 weeks and New Year's Eve it closed at $39.28.  

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil finished the year above $79 a barrel on Thursday, climbing a whopping 78 percent in 2009 and notching the biggest annual gain in a decade.

http://www.treehugger.com/earth-drowing-in-oil.jpgThe market roared back from depressed levels seen at the end of 2008 that came as the global economic crisis sapped demand.

U.S. crude for February delivery settled up 8 cents at $79.36 a barrel, compared with a close of $44.60 on December 31, 2008. London Brent crude fell 10 cents on Thursday to settle at $77.93.

This year's rise in U.S. oil futures is the sharpest annual percentage gain since 1999, when output cuts by producers helped revive prices from lows near $10 a barrel.

Oil on Thursday was still almost half the all-time high of $147.27 hit in July 2008.

After sliding to a five-year low under $33 at the end of 2008, oil prices staged a steady climb to a high of $82 in October this year. The annual average 2009 price was $62, broadly in line with analysts' predictions at the end of 2008 of $58.48.

Crude was supported on Thursday by data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) that showed declines in crude oil stockpiles last week, boosting expectations of demand recovery in the world's largest energy user.

SOURCE: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5B30OK20091231

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