April 5th, 2012

Crude oil gained for the first time in three days as claims for U.S. unemployment benefits dropped to a four-year low, raising hopes that demand in the world’s biggest user of oil may increase.

Crude oil futures prices increased after the Labor Department said jobless claims fell 6,000 to 357,000 in the week ended March 31, the fewest since April 2008. Oil was lower earlier on renewed concern that the euro area has yet to contain its debt crisis.

“The jobless claims are sort of offsetting some of the concern about Europe that was weighing oil down,” said Phil Flynn, an analyst at PFGBest in Chicago. “The good jobless number seems to suggest that perhaps the U.S. economy is going to be left unscathed by concerns over Europe.”

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April 4th, 2012

Crude oil tumbled after the Energy Department said U.S. stockpiles surged the most since 2008 as domestic crude output climbed to the highest level in 12 years.

Crude oil futures fell to a seven-week low as inventories rose 9.01 million barrels to 362.4 million last week, the most since June. Production gained 2.9 percent to 6.05 million barrels a day. Oil also decreased after the Federal Reserve signaled it may refrain from more monetary stimulus.

“U.S. inventories are obviously more than ample,” said Bill O’Grady, chief market strategist at Confluence Investment Management in St. Louis, which oversees $1.3 billion. “U.S. production keeps increasing. This proves that when prices rise high enough, producers are going to find new ways to bring supply to market.”

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April 2nd, 2012

Crude oil rose from a six-week low after a report showed that manufacturing in the U.S. expanded at a faster pace than forecast, signaling economic growth in the world’s biggest crude-consuming country.

Crude oil futures climbed as much as 1.7 percent as the Institute for Supply Management’s factory index increased to 53.4 last month from 52.4 in February, the Tempe, Arizona-based group’s data showed. The median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey called for a gain to 53. Crude fell earlier after a report showed euro- region manufacturing contracted.

“The ISM really renews confidence in the U.S. economy as we enter the new quarter,” said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC, a New York-based hedge fund that focuses on energy. “It looks like the U.S. economy will continue to grow at a steady clip in the second quarter.”

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March 22nd, 2012

Crude oil futures fell in New York for the second time in three days after France said industrialized nations are considering a release from strategic stockpiles and a report showed Chinese manufacturing may contract.

Crude oil futures dropped as much as 1.5 percent after French Industry Minister Eric Besson said the country is “studying with its partners all possible options,” including the supply of oil from emergency reserves. Manufacturing in China, the world’s second-largest oil consumer, may decline for a fifth month in March, according to a report today from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics.

“There is no motivation for buying,” said Gerrit Zambo, a trader at Bayerische Landesbank in Munich. “People are becoming a bit cautious because it is more or less clear that Iran doesn’t want to get into war with anyone, and talk of releasing strategic stocks is bearish.”

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March 21st, 2012

Crude oil rebounded from the largest decline in three months in New York after an industry report showed crude stockpiles fell in the U.S, the world’s biggest consumer of the commodity.

Crude oil futures gained as much as 0.7 percent, recovering from a 2.3 percent drop yesterday after Saudi Arabia said it may boost supplies. U.S. crude inventories shrank 1.4 million barrels last week, the most in six weeks, according to the American Petroleum Institute. The Energy Department may say today that stockpiles climbed 2.2 million barrels, a Bloomberg News survey showed. Saudi Arabia can increase output by 25 percent immediately, Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said. Prices have risen this year on concern tension with Iran threatens supply.

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March 20th, 2012

Crude Oil dropped on forecasts that U.S. crude stockpiles increased to a six-month high and on signals that economic growth and fuel demand will slow in China.

Crude oil futures fell as much as 2.2 percent before a report tomorrow that will show supplies rose for a fifth week, according to a Bloomberg News survey. China raised fuel prices by the most in two years and the nation’s vehicle sales may miss industry targets. Saudi Arabia’s cabinet seeks to restore “fair” crude prices, the state news agency said yesterday.

“We’re pricing in another build in crude supplies,” said Gene McGillian, an analyst and broker at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. “There are re-emerging worries about the Chinese economy, and we’re seeing the Saudis and others put additional supplies on the market.”

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March 19th, 2012

Crude oil futures traded near the highest price in a week in New York as investors bet that a U.S. economic recovery and Saudi Arabian crude output near the strongest level since at least 1980 signal fuel demand is increasing.

Crude oil futures were little changed after climbing the most in more than three weeks on March 16. Saudi Arabia, the largest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, pumped 9.87 million barrels a day in January, according to data submitted to the Joint Organization Data Initiative. Reports this week may show the economy strengthening in the U.S., the world’s biggest crude consumer.

“We’re looking at a period of moderate growth in the U.S., and the outlook has picked up,” said Ric Spooner, a chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney who sees West Texas Intermediate crude trading in a range of about $104 a barrel to $108 a barrel. “If it continues on from here up into $108 plus in terms of the New York price, that would start to look as though it was making a bit more of a positive statement in terms of breaking resistance from a technical point of view.”

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February 10th, 2012

Crude oil dropped from a three-week high as euro-area finance ministers refused to approve a rescue package for Greece, boosting concern that the European debt crisis will reduce fuel demand.

Futures fell 1.2 percent after Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, chairman of the group of euro-area finance chiefs, said yesterday that Greece won’t get financial aid until it implements an austerity plan. The International Energy Agency also cut its 2012 global oil demand forecast for a sixth month, citing a “darkening” economic outlook.

“The market rallied earlier this week on signs that the Greek situation was about to be settled and is now giving back those gains,” said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC, a New York-based hedge fund that focuses on energy. “The longer this crisis continues, the more it will diminish European economic growth and along with that the oil demand outlook.”

Crude oil for March delivery decreased $1.17 to settle at $98.67 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose for a third day yesterday, climbing 1.1 percent to $99.84, the highest close since Jan. 19. Prices increased 0.8 percent this week and are up 14 percent in the past year.

Brent oil for March settlement fell $1.28, or 1.1 percent, to end the session at $117.31 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. It was the first decline in nine days, ending the longest stretch of moves higher since October 2009. The European benchmark contract’s premium to New York-traded West Texas Intermediate crude was at $18.64, 11 cents narrower than yesterday’s settlement.

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November 29th, 2011

Crude oil futures rose a third day in New York, recouping earlier losses as a strengthening euro and advancing equities signaled investors were less concerned that Europe’s debt crisis will derail the global recovery.

West Texas Intermediate futures gained as much as 1.1 percent, having earlier lost 1 percent. Demand for 2014 bonds auctioned by Italy today was 1.5 times the amount sold. The U.S. Energy Department may say tomorrow oil inventories rose for the first time in a month, while gasoline supplies climbed for a third week, according to a Bloomberg News survey.

“Sentiment has improved on news of the successful Italian bond auction,” said Andrey Kryuchenkov, an analyst at VTB Capital in London. “We’re seeing a stronger euro as a result, and crude prices gaining alongside the broader commodity market rebound.”

Crude oil futures for January delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange was up 11 cents at $98.32 a barrel at 12:56 p.m. London time after falling as low as $97.23. Brent crude for January settlement on the ICE Futures Europe Exchange was up 87 cents at $109.87 a barrel, reversing a 61-cent decline.

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November 23rd, 2011

Crude oil futures dropped from a three-day high in New York as investors speculated that rising gasoline stockpiles in the U.S. and slowing economic growth in Europe will reduce demand for fuel.

Crude oil futures slipped as much as 1.7 percent before data today that may show shrinking manufacturing and services in Europe this month and falling U.S. durable-goods orders in October. The American Petroleum Institute said motor-fuel supplies climbed 5.42 million barrels last week. The U.S. economy expanded less than previously estimated in the third quarter, Commerce Department figures showed yesterday.

“There’s no reason for investors at the moment to be putting risk back on,” Ric Spooner, a chief analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney, said in a telephone interview. “The API figures added to the moderate tone of the market, but the main picture remains what’s happening in Europe.”

Crude oil futures for January delivery slid as much as $1.62 to $96.39 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $96.51 at 3:27 p.m. in Singapore. The contract gained 1.1 percent yesterday to $98.01, the highest close since Nov. 17. Prices are up 19 percent from a year ago.

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