Oil Trades Near $135

Crude oil traded little changed near $135 a barrel in New York after falling almost 3 percent yesterday as U.S. inventories increased unexpectedly.

Crude supplies rose 2.95 million barrels to 296.9 million barrels last week, an U.S. Energy Department report showed yesterday, while the forecast in a Bloomberg News survey was for a drop of 2.2 million barrels. U.S. fuel demand averaged 20.3 million barrels a day in the past four weeks, down 2 percent from 2007 as surging U.S. consumer prices curbed spending.

Crude oil for August delivery was at $134.90 a barrel, up 30 cents, at 10:32 a.m. Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures are up 82 percent from a year ago.

Yesterday, oil fell $4.14, or 3 percent, to settle at $134.60 a barrel. Prices dropped 7.3 percent in the past two days, the biggest two-day decline since January 2007.

Oil fell as low as $132 a barrel yesterday, more than 10 percent below the record $147.27 reached on July 11. A drop of that magnitude is commonly referred to as a correction.

Gasoline stockpiles rose 2.47 million barrels to 214.2 million barrels, the report showed. An 800,000-barrel decline was forecast. Inventories of distillate fuel, including heating oil and diesel, gained 3.19 million barrels to 125.7 million, the department said. A 2 million barrel increase was forecast.

Gasoline for August delivery was at $3.2880 a gallon in New York, up 0.86 cent, at 8:38 a.m. Singapore time. Futures reached $3.631 a gallon on July 11, an all-time high.

Consumption of gasoline averaged 9.3 million barrels a day over the past four weeks, down 2.1 percent from the same period last year, the Energy Department supply report showed.

Imports rose 13 percent to 10.8 million barrels a day in the week ended July 11, the highest since August, the report showed.

Confidence in the global economy deteriorated this month from Asia to the U.S. as oil prices rose to a record and the financial crisis deepened, a survey of Bloomberg users on six continents showed.

Saudi Arabia, the biggest producer of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries that supplies about 40 percent of the world's oil, increased output by 280,000 barrels a day in June to 9.53 million barrels, the highest since March 2006, according to a Bloomberg News survey.

TradingEconomics.com, Bloomberg
7/17/2008 10:38:56 AM