US crude rises $1.55 on strong economic data, stock rally

27 June 2013 21:08  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US crude oil futures rose on Thursday for the fourth day in a row, in tandem with a surging stock market and better-than-expected US economic data.

August West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures closed at $97.05/bbl, up $1.55, and are once again flirting with $100/bbl. ICE Brent futures also finished up $1.16 to $102.82 on production glitches in the North Sea. Oil rose despite data this week showing larger crude and gasoline inventories in the US.

The four-day rally marks a significant turnaround from last week, when Chairman Ben Bernanke hinted that the US Federal Reserve may ease its economic stimulus programme, known as quantitative easing or QE2, as the US economy improves. Oil prices fell afterwards.

August WTI futures dropped briefly in early morning trading, but then rallied through the afternoon on government data that showed that weekly jobless claims declined and personal spending and incomes rose. While the data suggested modest improvements in the US economy, analysts and investors concluded that it would not force the Fed to slow its stimulus programme.

Crude futures were also buoyed by a stock market rally that took the Dow Jones Industrial Average back above 15,000 by midday.

By: Mark Yost
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