WTI Crude Rises a Third Day on Forecast Distillate Supplies Fell

Jan 22, 2014 7:59 am ET

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Jan. 22 (Bloomberg) -- West Texas Intermediate crude rose for a third day amid speculation that government data will show distillate-fuel inventories declined for a second week in the U.S., the world’s biggest oil consumer.

Futures advanced as much as 0.8 percent in New York. Distillate stockpiles, including heating oil and diesel, probably slid by 500,000 barrels last week, according to a Bloomberg News survey before a report from the Energy Information Administration tomorrow. The International Energy Agency raised its forecast yesterday for global oil consumption, citing a strengthening economy.

“We’re seeing a more even economic recovery,” said Ole Sloth Hansen, the head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank A/S in Copenhagen. “Until now it’s been driven by the emerging market. Now it seems the U.S. and Europe have taken over the baton. Oil prices have a good run this week, the expectation is they’ll remain range-bound.”

WTI for March delivery gained as much as 74 cents to $95.71 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, and was at $95.45 at 12:55 p.m. London time. The February contract expired yesterday after climbing 62 cents to $94.99, the highest close since Jan. 2.

Brent for March settlement increased as much as 80 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $107.53 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark crude was at a premium of $11.95 to WTI.

Fuel Supplies

Distillate stockpiles dropped to 123.45 million barrels in the week ended Jan. 17, according to the median of nine analyst estimates in the Bloomberg survey. That would be 17 percent below the five-year average for that time of year.

Gasoline inventories probably rose by 1.5 million barrels last week, the survey shows. Crude supplies are projected to have climbed 1.7 million, the first increase since November.

The EIA, the Energy Department’s statistical arm, will release its report a day later than usual because of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday on Jan. 20. The industry-funded American Petroleum Institute in Washington is scheduled to publish separate stockpile data today.

World oil consumption will increase by 1.3 million barrels a day, or 1.4 percent, to a record 92.5 million this year, the IEA’s monthly report showed. The gain of 90,000 barrels a day from December’s prediction follows the first year of annual demand expansion in developed nations since 2010, according to the Paris-based energy adviser. The U.S. was the largest driver of growth last year, it said.

“Demand in the U.S. appears to be on the way up,” David Lennox, a resource analyst at Fat Prophets in Sydney, said by phone today. “The IEA report helped to push prices.”

--With assistance from Ben Sharples in Melbourne. Editors: Raj Rajendran, Bruce Stanley