Sunday, April 22, 2012

Crude Oil Trades Near Three Days Highs on U.S. Economic Outlook

Crude oil traded near the highest close in three days before reports that may show a strengthening of the economy in the U.S., the world’s biggest crude consumer. Futures were little changed in New York after rising 0.2 percent last week. Consumer purchases that account for about 70 percent of the U.S. economy probably climbed by the most since the end of 2010, according to a Bloomberg News survey before an April 27 Commerce Department report. Iraq halted crude exports from northern fields because of a technical fault at a pipeline network in neighboring Turkey, the Oil Ministry said.

Crude for June delivery was at $103.77 a barrel, down 11 cents, in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 9:40 a.m. Sydney time. The contract rose 1.1 percent to $103.88 on April 20, the highest close since April 17. Front month prices are 5 percent higher this year. Brent oil for June settlement was at $118.63 a barrel, down 13 cents, on the London based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark contract’s front month premium to West Texas Intermediate was at $14.85, from $14.88 on April 20.

Iraq’s crude exports stopped at 7:45 p.m. on April 21, the ministry said in a statement on the website of the official National Media Center yesterday. The nation normally exports 450,000 to 500,000 barrels a day from northern fields through Turkey. It ships most of its oil from the south on tankers sailing from the Persian Gulf.

U.S. consumer spending may have risen 2.3 percent last quarter, according to the Bloomberg survey. That would follow a 2.1 percent gain in the prior period. Gross domestic product rose at a 2.5 percent annual rate after advancing 3 percent in the previous three months, according to the median forecast in a separate Bloomberg survey before the Commerce Department’s April 27 release.

Posted courtesy of Bloomberg News

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