Oil Futures Soar 9% on Inventories Data, China

Source:

"With gasoline consumption up and an upcoming OPEC meeting, this could give the bulls something to feed on."

Oil futures rose for a second straight day Wednesday, surging 9% to end above $45 a barrel after government data showed a surprising decline in U.S. crude inventories and as investors anticipated a new stimulus plan from China, the world's second-biggest oil consumer.

Crude oil for April delivery gained $3.73 to end at $45.38 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract plunged 10% Monday, but has since recovered all of its losses.

U.S. crude inventories, excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, fell by 700,000 barrels in the week ended Feb. 27, the Energy Information Administration reported. Analysts surveyed by Platts had expected an increase of 2.2 million barrels...

The EIA also reported gasoline inventories rose by 200,000 barrels, and distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, rose 1.7 million barrels. Analysts surveyed by Platts had expected a decline of 600,000 barrels in gasoline inventories and a drop of 1.5 million barrels in distillate stocks.

"With gasoline consumption up and an upcoming OPEC meeting, this could give the bulls something to feed on," said James Williams, an economist at energy research firm WTRG Economics.

The possibility of additional Chinese stimulus also boosted demand hopes.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is considering new stimulus measures, adding to a $585 billion spending plan to revive the country's economy, former statistics bureau chief Li Deshui said in Beijing ahead of Thursday's National People's Congress.

"Crude prices were higher on increased optimism the Chinese economy would recover swiftly from the current downturn," wrote Nimit Khamar, an analyst at Sucden Financial Research.

Related Articles

Get Our Streetwise Reports Newsletter Free

A valid email address is required to subscribe