Oil traded close to the highest level in four months in New York after posting the longest run of weekly gains since April 2009, lifted by speculation that a global economic recovery will boost fuel demand.
West Texas Intermediate crude advanced as much as 0.6 percent after U.S. durable goods orders rose 4.6 percent in December, more than the 2 percent forecast in a Bloomberg news survey. A second U.S. government report today may show pending homes sales rose last month. The market is well supplied, Abdalla El-Badri, secretary-general of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, said today.
“Prices have been moving upwards from continued better economic data from the world’s two largest consumers, U.S. and China,” said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank A/S in Copenhagen. “Continued improved data is required to sustain these higher levels as there remains enough uncertainty within the euro zone for prices to fall.”
Crude for March delivery gained 81 cents to $96.69 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 1:49 p.m. London time. The volume of all futures traded was 12 percent below the 100-day average. WTI advanced 0.3 percent last week and closed at $96.24 a barrel on Jan. 22, the highest since Sept. 17.
Brent for March settlement increased 52 cents to $113.70 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The volume of all futures traded was 9 percent below the 100-day average. The European benchmark contract was at a premium of $16.97 to WTI. The gap was $17.40 on Jan. 25.