Crude traded near its highest close in a week after a measure of U.S. manufacturing beat estimates and before a report forecast to show shrinking fuel inventories in the world’s biggest oil consumer.
Futures were little changed in New York today after advancing for a third day. The Institute for Supply Management’s U.S. factory index increased to 51.5 in September yesterday, exceeding the median forecast of 49.7 in a Bloomberg News survey. Crude supplies in the U.S. probably gained last week, while gasoline and diesel stockpiles dropped, according to a survey of analysts. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said that tensions with Iran may push oil prices higher.
“Better-than-expected U.S. data has enabled the market to find some support,” said Christopher Bellew, a senior broker at Jefferies Bache Ltd. in London, who predicts prices will remain near current levels this week. “It’s a hard call where the market moves from here, but given events in the Middle East and prospects for positive U.S. economic data, any surprises are likely to be to the upside.”
Crude for November delivery was at $92.86 a barrel, up 38 cents, in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange as of 1:16 p.m. London time. The contract climbed 0.3 percent to $92.48 yesterday, the highest close since Sept. 21. Prices are down 6.1 percent this year.
Brent for November settlement was at $112.27 a barrel, up 8 cents, on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark crude’s premium to West Texas Intermediate was $19.50 a barrel, compared with $19.71 yesterday.
“As tensions between Iran and the west escalate, the risk to crude prices is becoming increasingly skewed to the upside,” David Greely, a New York-based analyst at Goldman Sachs, wrote in a report dated yesterday. The bank recommended the consumers protect against the risk of higher prices using options.
Russia’s oil and condensate output climbed to a post-Soviet record of 10.41 million barrels a day in September, according to the Energy Ministry.
Output rose 0.9 percent from a year earlier as OAO Lukoil increased production for the first time in almost three years, preliminary data from the ministry’s CDU-TEK unit show. The nation’s output gained 0.4 percent from revised data for August when levels were at a post-Soviet peak.
Oil in New York has technical resistance along its 50-day moving average, at $93.64 a barrel today, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Futures halted yesterday’s advance near this indicator. Sell orders tend to be clustered near chart-resistance levels.
U.S. crude stockpiles probably gained 1.5 million barrels last week, according to a Bloomberg survey before an Energy Department report tomorrow. The American Petroleum Institute will release separate inventory data later today.
Gasoline supplies may have dropped by 375,000 barrels last week, according to the median estimate of six analysts in the survey. Distillate stockpiles, a category that includes heating oil and diesel, probably fell 450,000 barrels.
The industry-funded API collects stockpile information on a voluntary basis from operators of refineries, bulk terminals and pipelines. The government requires that reports be filed with the Energy Department for its weekly survey.
Gasoline at U.S. pumps dropped for the second week, tracking a more than $4-a-barrel slide in oil prices last month and after refiners on the U.S. Gulf Coast restored output following Hurricane Isaac.