West Texas Intermediate crude headed for a sixth weekly gain as freezing weather in the U.S. bolstered demand for heating fuels in the world’s biggest oil consumer. Brent is also poised to advance for the week.
Futures were little changed in New York and up 2.4 percent this week. Distillate stockpiles, including heating oil and diesel, declined by 339,000 barrels to 112.7 million in the seven days through Feb. 14, the Energy Information Administration reported yesterday. South Sudan is trying to evacuate foreign oil workers from its Upper Nile region after fighting erupted between government forces and rebel fighters.
“Following somewhat milder temperatures in the U.S. of late, temperatures are forecast to plummet again next week,” Carsten Fritsch, an analyst at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt, said by e-mail. “After that the weather should normalize. Based on fundamentals, prices are too high.”
WTI for April delivery dropped 23 cents to $102.52 a barrel as of 1:22 p.m. London time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The March contract expired yesterday after losing 39 cents to $102.92. The volume of all futures traded was about 37 percent below the 100-day average. Prices have increased 4 percent this year.
Brent for April settlement traded 25 cents lower at $110.05 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Prices are up 0.9 percent this week. The European benchmark crude was at a premium of $7.53 to WTI on ICE, little changed from $7.55 yesterday.