Oil prices hit six-month high
NEW YORK CITY – Oil prices rose one percent in volatile trading on Thursday with US crude hitting a six-month high, according to a Reuters report.
The increase in prices came as investors weighed a forecast for tighter global supplies against signs of another storage build. Worries of a major outage in Nigerian crude also boosted the market, some traders said.
Brent crude futures settled up 48 cents at $48.08/bbl, while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures rose 47 cents to settle at $46.70/bbl. During the day, WTI futures hit a six-month high of $47.02/bbl.
With that, Brent was on track for a weekly rise of 6% and WTI 4%, continuing a broad uptrend that has added about $20/bbl from lows in January and February.
WTI could advance to almost $51/bbl in the near-term “on pure technical merits,” Jim Ritterbusch of Chicago-based oil markets consultancy Ritterbusch & Associates was quoted to say in the report. “But from a longer-term perspective, we still see this market setting up for a hard fall next month” from a potential dollar rally or weak Chinese economic data, he added.
WTI initially rallied early after the International Energy Agency raised its 2016 global oil demand growth forecast to 1.2 MMb/d from 1.16 MMb/d in April. Brent also jumped as the IEA noted a combined decline of 450,000 b/d in Nigerian, Libyan, and Venezuelan output from a year ago.