Crude Oil Edges Toward $108


"Overbought pressures have been substantially reduced. . ."

Crude oil futures overcame a weak start and turned higher Thursday, as a falling dollar and pullbacks earlier in the week worked to support prices, albeit modestly.

Crude for May delivery gained $0.075, or 0.7%, to $107.84 a barrel on the NYMEX. Prices had started floor trading in the red.

May gasoline rose $0.01, or 0.4%, to $3.25 a gallon.

"Overbought pressures have been substantially reduced, and prices are in a much better position to carry on to the upside after effectively relieving a good deal of steam," analysts at Cameron Hanover said in a note to clients.

Washington readies for battle over the U.S. national debt following the deficit-reducing plan put forth by President Obama.

In the previous session, oil settled higher, while gasoline rallied 2.5%. The start of the week was far rockier, however, with oil prices shaving almost 6% from Friday's level.

On Wednesday, oil benefited from a supply increase that was within expectations, while gasoline advanced on a steep decline in supply.

Natural gas joined the gains after its own inventory data were released.

The EIA said natural gas in storage added 28 billion cubic feet in the week ended April 8. Analysts polled by Platts had expected an addition of 31 billion to 35 billion cubic feet. The bullish supplies report follows two bearish ones.

"After two consecutive bearish misses, this smaller-than expected 28 bcf net injection may show that the supply/demand balance has not tipped as much in a bearish direction as had been anticipated," said Tim Evans, an analyst with Citigroup's Citi Futures Perspective, in a note to clients.

Natural gas for May delivery advanced %0.088, or 1.9%, to $4.22 per Mbtu. Before the report, it had traded at $4.07, off $0.06 from Wednesday's settlement.

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