West Texas Intermediate crude headed for the first weekly gain in more than a month on speculation an improving U.S. economy will boost fuel demand.
Prices rose for a fourth day after touching a seven-month low on Aug. 25. U.S. economy expanded more than previously forecast in the second quarter, the Commerce Department said yesterday. Demand for gasoline rose 3.7 percent last week, latest Energy Information Administration data showed. Brent gained on escalating tensions between Ukraine and Russia.
“Economic numbers continue to point to a slowly improving economic picture, and it means better fuel demand,” said Gene McGillian, an analyst and broker at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. “The market kind of overextended itself when it slid to the seven-month low. We do have new concern surrounding the fighting going on in Ukraine.”
WTI for October delivery advanced 64 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $95.19 a barrel at 9:02 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices are up 1.6 percent this week. The volume of all futures traded was about 7.3 percent above the 100-day average. Prices have declined 3 percent in August, a second consecutive monthly loss.
Brent for October settlement rose 39 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $102.85 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Volume was 9.6 percent above the 100-day average. The European benchmark crude traded at a $7.67 premium to WTI, compared with $7.91 yesterday.