West TX Oil Up Near $52.50

U.S. oil futures closed up $1.84 at $53.98 on Tuesday, above earlier highs and erasing losses on strong jobs data and U.S. government forecasts for lower domestic crude production growth and higher global demand for oil.

An Energy Information Administration (EIA) monthly report raised forecasts for U.S. and global demand growth and lowered forecasts for crude oil production growth in the United States.  Brent crude oil was last up 88 cents at $59 a barrel, just shy of its session peak of $59.27.

Saudi Arabia’s oil minister Ali al-Naimi said that the kingdom remains ready to help stabilize the market and improve prices in a “reasonable and suitable manner” with the help of other producers.  Separately, U.S. job openings surged to a 14-year high in February the Labor Department said in its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), lifting oil prices.