Prices for U.S. and global benchmark crude climbed to higher intraday levels in late morning trading Friday after mostly modest gains earlier in the session. Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group, attributed the climb to technical trading on the last regular trading day of the quarter. Also, "it seems that reports that China is cutting back on Iranian oil purchases," along with reports that the U.S. has no plans to tap its Strategic Petroleum Reserve to make up for Iranian oil barrels lost amid U.S. sanctions is "causing a surge of buying," he said. November West Texas Intermediate oil CLX8, +1.14% rose 86 cents, or 1.2%, to $72.98 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. November Brent crude LCOX8, +1.08% climbed 88 cents, or 1.1%, to $82.60 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.
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