West Texas Intermediate crude headed for its third weekly gain, the longest rising streak since February, amid declining U.S. crude stockpiles. Brent was steady in London before elections in Ukraine.
Futures rose 0.3 percent in New York. Crude inventories shrank by 7.23 million barrels last week, the most in four months, data from the Energy Information Administration showed on May 21. Fighting flared ahead of a May 25 presidential election in Ukraine as Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said Russia’s pledges to pull troops from the border “are a bluff.”
“We’re now seeing a healthy correction in U.S. crude stocks after they reached record levels in previous weeks,” Myrto Sokou, senior analyst at Sucden Financial Ltd. in London, said by e-mail. “Oil demand has picked up recently in the U.S.”
WTI for July delivery was at $104.03 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, up 29 cents at 1:06 p.m. London time. The contract slid 33 cents to $103.74 yesterday. The volume of all futures traded was about 52 percent below the 100-day average for the time of day. Prices have climbed 2 percent this week and 5.7 percent this year.
Brent for July settlement was 25 cents higher at $110.61 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. It traded at a premium of $6.56 to WTI on ICE, compared with $8.17 at the end of last week.