Oil prices rise above $90 per barrel
Benchmark oil for February delivery was up 20 cents to $90.02 a barrel at midday Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 45 cents to settle at $89.82 on Tuesday.
The American Petroleum Institute said late Tuesday that crude inventories fell 5.8 million barrels last week while analysts surveyed by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos., had forecast a drop of 2.4 million barrels. Inventories of gasoline decreased 2.9 million barrels and distillates rose slightly, the API said.
The Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration reports its weekly supply data later Wednesday. The EIA said last week that supplies dropped 9.9 million barrels the previous week, the biggest drop in eight years.
Oil prices, which rose to a two-year high above $90 earlier this month, have been supported by rallying stock markets. Meanwhile, a strengthening U.S. dollar, which makes crude more expensive for investors with other currencies, has weighed on oil.
“A steady-higher stock market continues to provide a major counter against a likely renewed weakening in the euro,” Ritterbusch and Associates said in a report. “A choppy, sideways trade could persist through the balance of this year.”
In other Nymex trading in January contracts, heating oil rose 0.4 cent to $2.52 a gallon, gasoline futures added 1.4 cents to $2.41 a gallon and natural gas advanced 0.8 cent to $4.07 per 1,000 cubic feet.
In London, Brent crude rose 23 cents to $93.43 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.