U.S. OIL PRICES UP
U.S. oil prices rose to a five-week high Friday after U.S. macroeconomic data reflected stronger inflationary pressure and improving consumer sentiment.
Light, sweet crude for May delivery settled up 34 cents, or 0.3%, at $103.74 a barrel, the highest since March 3, on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude on ICE Futures Europe ended the day down 13 cents, or 0.1%, at $107.33 a barrel.
U.S. oil prices started the day's trade lower but began to perk up after the Labor Department said the March producer price index, a gauge of U.S. inflation, rose a seasonally adjusted 0.5% from February. A common case for commodity investment is as a hedge against inflation.
The PPI report was followed by a Thomson-Reuters/University of Michigan survey showing early-April consumer sentiment in the U.S. was at its highest level since July.
Prices rose as high as $104.44 a barrel after the data, then pulled back a little in an end-of-session selloff as traders closed out positions heading into the weekend. For the week, the Nymex contract gained 2.6%, the biggest weekly rise since December.
One element of support for the petroleum markets has been data showing falling gasoline stockpiles as the U.S. approaches summer, when more drivers hit the roads and increase demand for the fuel, Citigroup said in a note. The U.S. Energy Information Administration said this week that gas stockpiles declined 5.4 million barrels in the week ended April 4, bringing it well below year-ago and five-year average levels.
Analysts have been citing the data as a potential catalyst across the petroleum complex. Prices have risen 8% this year, settling up 0.65 cent Friday at $3.0144 a gallon.
"Gasoline continues to be strong," said Jefferies senior vice president Andrew Lebow. "Inventories (fell) unexpectedly this week."
May diesel finished down 0.58 cent at $2.9332 a gallon.
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GAZPROM - The parties discussed relevant issues related to bilateral cooperation, including the Baltic LNG project. Emphasis was placed on the priority measures aimed at developing a joint design concept (pre-FEED).
BHGE - U.S. Rig Count is up 11 rigs from last week to 1,063, with oil rigs up 8 to 869, gas rigs up 4 to 193, and miscellaneous rigs down 1 to 1. Canada Rig Count is up 13 rigs from last week to 195, with oil rigs up 8 to 127 and gas rigs up 5 to 68.
REUTERS - Brent crude futures had risen $1.02 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $81.28 a barrel by 0637 GMT. The contract dropped 3.4 percent on Thursday following sharp falls in equity markets and indications that supply concerns have been overblown. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 80 cents, or 1.1 percent, at $71.77 a barrel, after a 3 percent fall in the previous session. WTI is on track for a 3.5 percent drop this week.
EIA - Brent crude oil spot prices averaged $79 per barrel (b) in September, up $6/b from August. EIA expects Brent spot prices will average $74/b in 2018 and $75/b in 2019. EIA expects West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices will average about $6/b lower than Brent prices in 2018 and in 2019.