Crude Oil Rebounds to Trim Biggest Weekly Decline Since June

Oil advanced in New York as investors speculated that the biggest weekly decline in more than three months was exaggerated.

November futures rose as much as 1.2 percent after front-month prices slid 7.2 percent in the four days through yesterday, when the October contract expired. New York crude has technical support after settling below the lower Bollinger Band at $92.55 a barrel the past two days. The last time it closed below the band on June 21, oil gained 12 percent over the next eight trading sessions. Prices may fall next week on concern economic growth will slow, a Bloomberg News survey showed.

“Financial oil positions sold off in June are now being rebuilt,” said Torbjoern Kjus, an Oslo-based senior oil analyst with DNB ASA, in an interview in Singapore. “Usually it doesn’t take more than nervousness to create a sell-off.”

Oil for November delivery advanced as much as $1.06 to $93.48 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $93.41 at 3:10 p.m. Singapore time. It climbed 12 cents yesterday to $92.42. The October contract expired at $91.87, down 11 cents. Front-month prices are down 5.6 percent this week, the biggest decline since the period ended June 1.

Brent oil for November settlement climbed 88 cents to $110.91 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark grade’s premium to West Texas Intermediate was at $17.53, down from $17.61 yesterday.

Inflation Concerns

“When you see an unexpected sharp price drop like that, you normally see a peak to valley move about $10 from high to low and then the buyers come in,” said Phil Flynn, a senior market analyst at the Price Futures Group in Chicago. “We should see a 30 percent to 50 percent recovery of the crude price drop in short order.”

Investors may be buying oil to hedge against inflation concerns after central banks announced stimulus measures, Kjus said. The European Central Bank announced an unlimited bond-purchase program Sept. 6 and the U.S. Federal Reserve pledged a third round of debt-buying Sept. 13.

“People start to fear inflation and that’s positive for oil prices,” said Kjus. “When the central banks increase liquidity, there’s more money seeking excess returns. That’s also a reason to buy oil.”

New York crude may decline next week after reports from Asia, Europe and North America fueled concern that global economic growth is slowing, according to the Bloomberg survey. Thirteen of 27 analysts, or 48 percent, forecast oil will drop through Sept. 28. Seven respondents predicted that futures will gain and seven said there will be little change in prices.

Sufficiently Supplied

The oil market is sufficiently supplied, and additional crude is coming from Saudi Arabia, Canada and the U.S., the International Energy Agency’s executive director, Maria van der Hoeven, said yesterday in Madrid.

Oil prices are set to decline over the next six to nine months because of rising production from the U.S., David Martin, an analyst at JPMorgan Chase & Co., said at a conference in London yesterday.

A fire at a fuel-storage tank at Petroleos de Venezuela SA’s El Palito refinery should be put out today, according to the country’s President Hugo Chavez. A second tank blaze was extinguished yesterday.

The fires were triggered by lightning that struck a seal on the tanks at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 19 during a rainstorm, Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said in a telephone call aired on state TV. Trucks used foam to extinguish the second fire, he said.

U.S. gasoline futures extended yesterday’s 2.7 percent gain, climbing 0.8 percent today to $2.9278 a gallon on the Nymex. Prices gained amid concerns of declining supply after the Venezuela fire and as Irving Oil Corp. shut a fuel-making fluid catalytic cracker at it Saint John refinery in New Brunswick. The 298,800 barrel-a-day Canadian plant exports half of its output to the U.S. Northeast.

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