Oil Rises for Fourth Day

Crude oil rose for a fourth day in New York on speculation the U.S. government's proposed $700 billion rescue plan for the finance industry will spur demand.

Oil has climbed 16 percent since Sept. 16, the biggest four-day gain since October 2000, as lawmakers pledged fast consideration of the Treasury's plan to buy devalued mortgage- related securities from investment firms to keep the financial system from stalling.

Crude oil for October delivery rose as much as $1.22 a barrel, or 1.2 percent, to $105.77 a barrel in after-hours electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was at $105.58 a barrel at 2:56 p.m. in Singapore. Futures closed at $104.55 on Sept. 19, the highest settlement price since Sept. 8.

The contract, which expires at the close of trading today, jumped as much as 7.4 percent on Sept. 19, capping the biggest three-day rally in almost a decade, as investors bought oil to cancel out earlier bets on falling prices.

Oil fell more than $10 a barrel early last week as the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. shocked world equity markets.

The more widely held November contract traded at $104.53 a barrel, up $1.78. It gained 5.3 percent on Sept. 19, leaving it at a $1.80 a-barrel discount to October oil, the biggest margin between the two leading contracts for six months.

The gap between the two contracts is a result of a sharp plunge in gasoline and crude oil inventories following Hurricane Ike, said Mitsubishi's Nunan.

Gasoline stockpiles dropped 3.31 million barrels to 184.6 million in the week ended Sept. 12 as the storm forced refineries with about 20 percent of the nation's fuel-processing capacity to shut, the department's weekly inventory report on Sept. 17 showed. Supplies were the lowest since November 1967, according to Jonathan Cogan, a department spokesman.

Brent crude oil for November settlement rose as much as $1.89, or 1.9 percent, to $101.50 a barrel on London's ICE Futures Europe exchange. It was at $101.32 a barrel, up $1.71, at 2:59 p.m. Singapore time. The contract rose $4.42, or 4.6 percent, to $99.61 a barrel on Sept. 19.

Gold fell in Asia as investors tried to gauge the impact of an enlarged rescue package for the U.S. finance industry on the dollar and the world's biggest economy.

Gold had the biggest weekly advance last week in almost nine years as the worst crisis facing the U.S. finance industry since the 1920s pushed investors toward precious metals and oil.

Gold for immediate delivery fell 0.7 percent to $867.63 an ounce at 10:15 a.m. in Singapore. It fell as low as $862.80 having earlier gained much as 1.2 percent to $883.22. Bullion rallied more than 14 percent last week, the most since October 1999. Silver for immediate delivery rose 0.1 percent to $12.64 an ounce.

TradingEconomics.com, Bloomberg.com
9/22/2008 5:21:06 AM