Oil Falls a Seventh Day, Longest Run of Losses Since 2009

Oil rose, halting a six-day decline that was the commodity’s longest drop since 2010, as first-time claims for unemployment benefits fell to a one-month low.

West Texas Intermediate futures reversed earlier losses after jobless claims declined by 1,000 to 367,000 in the period ended May 5, in line with the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey and the lowest since the end of March, the Labor Department said today in Washington.

“For WTI at least the drop might have been overdone,” said Eugen Weinberg, head of commodities research at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt.

WTI for June delivery advanced as much as 88 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $97.69 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, having fallen as much as 73 cents to $96.08 a barrel. The contract yesterday slid 20 cents to $96.81, the lowest close since Feb. 2, and was at $97.47 at 1:53 p.m. London time.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said that global oil supplies are outpacing demand levels, keeping its forecast for world consumption this year unchanged.

“Higher OPEC crude oil production underscores the current trend of plentiful supply in excess of market requirements,” OPEC’s secretariat said in its Monthly Oil Market Report today.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest crude exporter, boosted oil output last month to the most in more than three decades, according to a person familiar with the country’s production.

The kingdom pumped 10.1 million barrels a day in April, more than the 10.04 million it produced last November, according to the person, who is not authorized to speak publicly and declined to be identified. That’s the highest level since at least 1980, according to data from the U.S. Energy Department.

Oil prices fell earlier today after a report yesterday from the Energy Department showed U.S. crude inventories rose 3.7 million barrels last week to 379.5 million, the highest level since 1990.

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