Oil Higher on Yemen Concerns

Crude oil prices settled up 3 percent on Thursday, hitting 2015 highs, while U.S. gasoline reached 5-month peaks after Saudi Arabia and its allies maintained a bombing blitz in Yemen that heightened concerns about the security of Middle East oil supplies.  Oil buyers also stoked the rally with bets that U.S. crude output will shrink further after two straight weeks of declines.

The weak dollar also supported oil and other dollar-denominated commodities. The euro gained more than 1 percent against the greenback, boosting oil demand from holders of the European currency.  U.S. crude settled up $1.58, or 2.8 percent, at $57.74 a barrel. Its session peak of $58.41 was a 2015 high.

U.K. North Sea Brent, a global benchmark for oil, finished up $2.12, or 3.3 percent, at $64.85 a barrel. Its session high was a 2015 peak of $65.58.  Front-month U.S. gasoline settled up 7 cents, or 4 percent, after hitting an intraday high above $2 a gallon, the peak since Nov. 26.