Oil Advances Beyond $100

Oil prices traded above the $100 a barrel level on Wednesday, ahead of the latest US weekly inventories data, while gold traded below the $900 a troy ounce level as strains in money markets eased slightly at the start of the fourth quarter.

Hopes that a revamped version of the $700bn rescue plan for wall Street might gain approval from the US Senate on Wednesday evening helped provide a boost to sentiment.

Nymex November West Texas Intermediate rose 42 cents to $101.06 a barrel, after touching a high of $102.84, continuing to recover for a second session following Monday’s drop of $10.52. ICE November Brent added 24 cents at $98.41 a barrel after reaching a high of $100.31.

Disruptions from hurricane Ike to US refining capacity in the Gulf of Mexico region were again expected to be a feature of US weekly inventories data, due for release on Wednesday.

Refinery utilisation sank to a record low of just 66.7 per cent after Ike but a recovery of 5.5 percentage points to 72.2 per cent was seen as possible as more refiners returned to work.

US petrol stocks, which have already shrunk to their lowest levels since 1967, were seen falling for a 10th consecutive week, down 1.6m barrels.

US motorists drove less road miles for a ninth consecutive month in July with nearly 10bn less vehicle miles, down 3.6 per cent compared with the same month last year. The decline was less than the drop of 5 per cent reported for June.

TradingEconomics.com, Bloomberg.com
10/1/2008 5:35:48 AM