West Texas Intermediate advanced for a third day amid speculation that crude inventories declined for a second week in the U.S., the world’s biggest oil consumer. Brent was steady in London.
Futures rose as much as 0.5 percent in New York. Crude stockpiles probably fell by 1.5 million barrels in the week ended June 6, according to a Bloomberg News survey before data from the Energy Information Administration tomorrow. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, responsible for about 40 percent of global supply, will maintain its production quota at 30 million barrels a day when it meets in Vienna, said oil ministers including Venezuela’s Rafael Ramirez.
“The inventory report will be a key number,” Michael McCarthy, a chief strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney, said by phone today. “Brent is bumping up against a ceiling of $110 a barrel on the charts, while West Texas has got room to move up to about $105.25.”
WTI for July delivery gained as much as 48 cents to $104.89 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $104.69 at 4:50 p.m. Sydney time. The contract climbed $1.75 to $104.41 yesterday, the highest close since March 3. The volume of all futures traded was about 91 percent above the 100-day average. Prices have increased 6.4 percent this year.
Brent for July settlement was 2 cents lower at $109.97 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark crude traded at a premium of $5.28 to WTI, compared with $5.58 yesterday.
U.S. crude inventories probably dropped to about 388 million barrels, according to the median estimate in the Bloomberg survey of six analysts. Supplies were at 399.4 million through April 25, the most since the EIA began publishing weekly data in 1982.
Gasoline stockpiles are forecast to have expanded by 1 million barrels to about 212.8 million, the survey shows. The peak U.S. driving season typically starts from Memorial Day, which was on May 26, to Labor Day on Sept. 1.
The American Petroleum Institute in Washington is scheduled to release separate inventory data today. The industry group collects information on a voluntary basis from operators of refineries, bulk terminals and pipelines, while the government requires that reports be filed with the EIA, the Energy Department’s statistical arm, for its weekly survey.
OPEC will meet tomorrow for the first time since December. The market is “good” and there’s consensus that the 12-member group will maintain its output quota, Pedro Merizalde, Ecuador’s minister for non-renewable natural resources, said yesterday. There are “indications” that the target will be unchanged, according to Iraqi Oil Minister Abdul Kareem al-Luaibi.
In Libya, rebels seeking self-rule in the eastern regions withdrew a threat to shut the Hariga and Zueitina oil terminals after Prime Minister Ahmed Maiteg agreed to step down. Output from the nation, which holds Africa’s largest crude reserves, has shrunk in the past year because of unrest.
WTI is extending gains after breaching technical resistance yesterday along a downward-sloping trend line that halted rallies in early March, mid-April and late May, data compiled by Bloomberg show. This line is at about $104.15 a barrel today. Investors typically buy contracts when chart-resistance levels break down.
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