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Oil Settles Above $109 on Traders' Rate Cut Bet

Oil futures climbed as traders Monday bet the Federal Reserve will continue cutting interest rates. Comments from OPEC suggesting the cartel plans no production increases also boosted oil prices.

May futures rose $2.86 to settle at $109.09 a barrel on the Nymex, crude's highest settlement since March 18.

At the pump, the national average price of a gallon of gasoline jumped 3.6 cents over the weekend to a record $3.339, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service. That is 58 cents higher than a year ago. In New York Mercantile Exchange trading, May gasoline futures rose 2.68 cents to settle at $2.7835 a gallon.

The Energy Department expects retail gas prices to peak above $3.60 a gallon later in the spring, said Guy Caruso, head of the department's Energy Information Administration, according to Dow Jones Newswires. Many analysts see prices peaking closer to $4 a gallon.

In other Nymex trading, May heating oil futures gained 9.22 cents to settle at $3.0843 a gallon. Natural gas rose 46.9 cents to settle at $9.791 per 1,000 cubic feet.

London Brent crude jumped more than $2 on Monday.

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