Crude Oil Nears 26-Month High
Source: Bloomberg, Margot Habiby and Mark Shenk (12/28/10)
"Oil advanced after MasterCard reported holiday sales rose 5.5%."
Oil advanced after MasterCard reported holiday sales rose 5.5% to $584 billion from Nov. 5 through Dec. 24, compared with 4.1% a year earlier. Oil inventories shrank for the fourth consecutive week, according to the median estimate of analysts in a Bloomberg News survey, the longest stretch of declines in a year.
"We're staying in the $90 area, with an eye on hitting $100 in the new year," said Carl Larry, president of Oil Outlooks & Opinions LLC in Houston. "Demand is picking up and should rise further in coming months."
Crude for February delivery gained $0.46 cents, or 0.5%, to $91.46 a barrel at 1:40 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures have advanced 15% this year. Crude touched $91.88, the highest price since October 2008, yesterday in intraday trading.
Brent crude for February settlement increased $0.49, or 0.5%, to $94.34 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.
U.S. fuel consumption averaged over four weeks, a measure of demand, rose to 19.7 million barrels a day in the period through Dec. 17, the highest level since February 2009, according to Energy Department data released last week.