Crude futures rise by more than $1/bbl on US Fed stimulus hopes

23 August 2012 08:36  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Crude futures rose on Thursday, climbing by more than $1/bbl at one stage, supported by a larger-than-expected fall in US crude stocks and expectations that the US Federal Reserve will implement a further round of quantitative easing to stimulate growth in the US economy.

At 07:22 GMT, October Brent crude on London’s ICE futures exchange was trading at $115.82/bbl, up by 91 cents/bbl from the previous close. Earlier, the North Sea benchmark rose to a session high of $116.09/bbl, up by $1.18/bbl.

October NYMEX light sweet crude futures (WTI) were trading at $98.12/bbl, up by 86 cents/bbl from the previous close. Earlier, the US benchmark rose to a session high of $98.29bbl, up by $1.03/bbl.

The US Federal Reserve has indicated at its latest meeting that it is considering a new round of monetary stimulus in the near term if there is no significant improvement in the performance of the US economy. 

Additional monetary stimulus is expected to further weaken the US dollar and encourage buying interest in commodities, like crude oil, that are priced in the US currency.

Weekly US inventory data from the US’ Energy Information Administration (EIA) revealed an expectedly large 5.4m barrel drawdown in US crude stocks.

Oil prices remain close to their highest level since early May 2012 amid supply concerns generated by heightened Middle East tensions arising from Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program and the ongoing civil war in Syria.

Upward pressure from supply issues and Fed stimulus expectations were offset by disappointing factory data from China that raised concerns of a continued slowdown in the world’s second biggest economy.

The HSBC Flash China manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) declined to 47.8 in August – its lowest level since November 2011 – from 49.5 in July.

A PMI figure below 50 indicates a contraction in economic activity.

($1 = €0.80)

By: James Dennis
+65 6780 4327

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