WTI Crude Trades Near One-Week High; OPEC Raises Estimate

West Texas Intermediate rose to the highest level in more than a week after the biggest gain since early January. OPEC raised forecasts for the amount of crude it will need to supply this year.

Futures advanced as much as 0.8 percent, reversing an earlier loss as the dollar weakened against the euro after the world’s major industrial nations pledged to avoid devaluing their exchange rates. U.S. crude inventories probably rose 2.35 million barrels last week, according to the survey before an Energy Department report tomorrow.

“Prices would need much more momentum from the economic growth side to go higher,” said Gerrit Zambo, an oil trader at Bayerische Landesbank in Munich, who predicts Brent will trade from $115 to $120 a barrel this month.

WTI for March delivery increased as much as 74 cents to $97.77 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest since Feb. 1. The contract was at $97.69 as of 1:24 p.m. London time. The volume of all futures traded was 60 percent above with the 100-day average. The contract increased $1.31 to $97.03 yesterday, the most since Jan. 2.

Brent for March settlement, which expires tomorrow, advanced 43 cents to $118.56 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The more-active April contract gained 50 cents to $117.70 a barrel. The volume of all futures traded was 18 percent above the 100-day average. The European benchmark grade for March was at a premium of $21.10 to WTI futures.

G-7 Statement

The euro strengthened as much as 0.5 percent to $1.3467 against the dollar as the Group of Seven’s finance ministers and central bank governors promised they would “not target exchange rates” in a statement today in London.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will have to provide an average of 29.8 million barrels a day in 2013, or 100,000 a day more than it estimated a month ago. The producer group’s output in January was 500,000 barrels a day above this at 30.3 million, according to OPEC’s monthly market report published today.

U.S. crude inventories probably increased for a fourth week to 374 million barrels in the seven days ended Feb. 8, according to the median estimate of eight analysts in the Bloomberg survey. That would be the longest run of gains since May. All the respondents forecast a rise.

Gasoline stockpiles were probably unchanged and distillate fuels slid 1.5 million barrels, the survey shows.

The EIA, the Energy Department’s statistical arm, is scheduled to release its weekly report at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow in Washington. The industry-funded American Petroleum Institute will release separate supply data today.

The 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.

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