U.S. cold, Chinese growth help lift oil above $102

The price of oil closed above $102 a barrel Tuesday on expectations that cold weather in the U.S. and steady Chinese growth will underpin demand.

Benchmark U.S. crude for March delivery closed up $2.13 to $102.43 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

At the gas pump, the average price of a gallon of gasoline is $3.37. That’s up 6 cents from a week ago, and down 36 cents from this time last year.

Severe cold weather has been boosting energy prices, with a prolonged wave of snow and cold temperatures hitting the East Coast most of the winter.

“Another snowstorm in the U.S. is likely to keep heating demand at a high level and spark a further decline in the already severely diminished stocks of heating oil and natural gas,” said analysts at Commerzbank in Frankfurt in a note to clients.

Optimism that China’s economy is still healthy after credit growth increased in January also helped lift energy prices.

Meanwhile, a new round of talks began Tuesday between Iran and six world powers on finalizing a deal to control Iran’s nuclear program. The outcome could have an effect on oil prices as Iran is a major oil producer and reduction of sanctions would allow the country to export more of its crude.

A weaker dollar also supported oil prices by making commodities like oil cheaper for traders using other currencies. On Tuesday, the euro was up 0.3 percent at $1.3747.

Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, rose $1.28 to $110.46 barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

Among other March futures contracts trading on Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline rose 3 cents to $3 a gallon.

— Heating oil added 3 cents to $3.04 a gallon.

— Natural gas gained 34 cents to $5.55 per 1,000 cubic feet.

More in Herald Business Journal

Happy accident leads Edmonds couple to make Hunniwater drink

The latest line of energy drinks by Karin and Eric… Continue reading

Voters are on the sidelines as the port fills a vacant seat

Troy McClelland resigned from the Port of Everett commission too late for an election before 2019.

Don’t rely just on productivity measurements to value a worker

The controversies swirling around the productivity data at the national level are… Continue reading

Career Fair planned next week at Tulalip Resort Casino

The Snohomish County Career Fair is planned from 10 a.m. to 2… Continue reading

American Farmland Trust president to speak in Mount Vernon

American Farmland Trust President John Piotti plans to give a talk about… Continue reading

Agent joins Re/Max in Smokey Point

Dennis Roland joined the Re/Max Elite Smokey Point office. The Navy veteran… Continue reading

In space capsules today, little room but big improvement

Boeing and SpaceX are relying on a tried-and-true design as they each develop new spacecraft.

First Boeing KC-46 delivery to Air Force slides into 2018

Certification milestones have been missed, and problems have emerged in flight test, a source says.

SEC reveals hack, possibility info was used for trading

The regulatory agency said the hack was discovered last year.

Most Read