HOUSTON - Oil prices approached $75 a barrel yesterday for the first time in 10 months amid growing optimism the world’s economies are on the mend. Benchmark crude for October delivery rose 48 cents to settle at $74.37 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Expectations that demand for energy will grow, at least for oil and gasoline, were spurred Friday by Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, who said the US economy is reviving. His remarks and signs of improvement in the housing market sent stocks up. Even before he spoke, prices had begun to rise on an expected drawdown of US oil supplies.
Equity and energy markets have been rising and falling in tandem for weeks.
Gasoline prices have flattened and few expect a major run on prices as the driving season winds down.