Brent crude climbed to $110 a barrel for the first time in six weeks amid concern that the crisis in Ukraine is escalating. West Texas Intermediate advanced before weekly U.S. inventory data.
Futures gained as much as 0.8 percent in London. Ukraine began an offensive against separatists in its restive east, recapturing an airport amid claims that Russian special forces were supporting anti-government groups. U.S. gasoline inventories are predicted to have slid by 1.75 million barrels, extending seven weeks of decreases, according to a Bloomberg survey before government data.
“Oil is being driven more by the Ukraine situation,” Guy Wolf, global head of market analytics at Marex Spectron Group in London, said by e-mail. “Does this situation mean more intense disagreements elsewhere, as in the Cold War? In a tight market, such as WTI, anything can have an amplified effect.”
Brent for June settlement rose 84 cents to $110.20 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, rising above $110 for the first time since March 4. The volume of all futures traded was about 12 percent above the 100-day average. Prices fell 0.6 percent this year.
WTI for May delivery gained as much as $1.24 to $104.99 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest since March 3. The U.S. benchmark grade’s discount to Brent for the same month widened to $6.37 a barrel, the most since April 1 on an intraday basis.
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