(Updates with settlement prices in eighth paragraph.)
Sept. 6 (Bloomberg) -- West Texas Intermediate crude will probably advance next week on the prospect of a U.S. attack against Syria, improving economic data and falling American oil stockpiles, a Bloomberg survey showed.
Sixteen of 36 analysts, or 44 percent, forecast crude will increase through Sept. 13. Fifteen respondents, or 42 percent, predicted a decline and five said that there would be no change. Last week, 43 percent of analysts projected a gain and 41 percent a decrease.
President Barack Obama searched for diplomatic backing for a U.S. military strike while at the Group of 20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted Sept. 4 to authorize Obama to conduct limited operations after the alleged use of chemical weapons by President Bashar al- Assad, clearing the way for consideration by the full Senate.
“I’m looking for oil to trade higher next week,” said Tom Power, senior commodities broker at RJO Futures in Chicago. “Stronger economic data, lower-than-expected crude supplies and the threat of another war in the Middle East are all supportive of higher prices.”
The Middle East accounted for about 35 percent of global oil production in the first quarter of this year, according to the International Energy Agency. Syria borders Iraq, the largest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries after Saudi Arabia.
Service industries in the U.S. expanded in August at the fastest pace in eight years, a report showed yesterday. The Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing index increased to 58.6 from 56 the prior month, the Tempe, Arizona- based group said. Other data yesterday showed claims for unemployment benefits declined more than forecast last week and companies expanded payrolls in August.
U.S. crude oil inventories slipped 1.84 million barrels last week to 360.2 million, an Energy Information Administration report showed yesterday. Supplies in Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for West Texas Intermediate oil traded in New York, fell 1.83 million barrels to 34.8 million, the fewest since February 2012.
Front-month crude futures rose $2.88, or 2.7 percent, to $110.53 a barrel this week on the New York Mercantile Exchange. There was no floor trading on Sept. 2 because of the U.S. Labor Day holiday. Prices are up 20 percent this year.
WTI rose today to the highest level since May 2011 after Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country would aid Syria in the event of an attack.
The oil survey has correctly predicted the direction of futures 50 percent of the time since its start in April 2004.
Bloomberg’s survey of oil analysts and traders, conducted
each Thursday, asks for an assessment of whether crude oil
futures are likely to rise, fall or remain neutral in the coming
week. The results were:
RISE NEUTRAL FALL
16 5 15
--With assistance from Tsuyoshi Inajima in Tokyo, Sarah Chen in Beijing, Ann Koh, Ramsey Al-Rikabi, Pratish Narayanan and Yee Kai Pin in Singapore and Grant Smith in London. Editors: Charlotte Porter, Richard Stubbe