Oil Is Little Changed


Crude oil traded little changed amid speculation that U.S. stockpiles increased for the 19th week in 22 as the recession saps fuel demand.

Crude oil inventories probably gained 1 million barrels in the week ended Feb. 20 from 350.6 million the week before, a Bloomberg survey showed. Supplies fell 138,000 barrels in the week ending Feb. 13. The MSCI World Index of equities dropped for an 11th straight day, increasing concern that the worldwide economic contraction is deepening.

Crude oil for April delivery traded for $38.25 a barrel, 19 cents lower, in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange as of 12:19 p.m. London time. Prices are down 62 percent in the past year.

U.S. crude oil inventories dropped in the week ending Feb. 13 as the country’s imports fell 8.9 percent to 8.7 million barrels a day, the lowest since September.

Crude oil supplies at Cushing, Oklahoma, where New York- traded West Texas Intermediate crude is delivered, declined 52,000 barrels to 34.9 million barrels in the week ended Feb. 13, Energy Department data shows. Inventories in the week ended Feb. 6 were the highest since at least April 2004, when the department began keeping records for the location.

The high inventories at Cushing have depressed the West Texas price so that Brent crude oil traded in London is at a premium to the U.S. grade. Brent is selling more than $2 a barrel higher than WTI.

Brent crude oil for April settlement gained as much as 68 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $41.67 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures Europe exchange. It was at $41.25 a barrel at 12:19 a.m. London time.


TradingEconomics.com, Bloomberg
2/24/2009 5:31:01 AM