Oil rose as much as 6 percent after stocks increased on better-than-estimated earnings at Wells Fargo & Co. and speculation banks will pass government stress tests. Prices were also higher because a government report showed a smaller gain in U.S. supplies than the industry indicated a day earlier.
Crude oil for May delivery rose $2.83, or 5.7 percent, to $52.21 a barrel at 9:35 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices are up 17 percent this year.
U.S. crude oil supplies increased 1.65 million barrels to 361.1 million last week, the highest since July 1993, the report yesterday from the U.S. Energy Department showed. The industry- funded American Petroleum Institute said April 7 stockpiles jumped by 6.94 million barrels to the highest since 1990.
Gasoline stockpiles rose 656,000 barrels to 217.4 million in the week ended April 3. Total daily fuel demand averaged over the past four weeks was 18.9 million barrels, down 4.4 percent from a year earlier, the Energy Department said. It was the lowest consumption for a four-week period since October.
Global oil demand falls to an annual low during the second quarter as refineries close to perform maintenance after winter in the Northern Hemisphere.
Stockpiles at Cushing, Oklahoma, where New York-traded West Texas Intermediate crude oil is delivered, fell 878,000 barrels to 29.98 million last week, the lowest since the week ended Dec. 26. Supplies in the week ended Feb. 6 were the highest since at least April 2004, when the Energy Department began keeping records for the location.
Brent crude oil for May settlement rose $2.38, or 4.6 percent, to $53.97 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures Europe exchange.