Brent Crude Hits 3-Year High to Sell for $71


Futures have climbed 3.8% in NY this week after reaching the highest since December 2014 on Thursday.

Brent for March settlement added 15c to $70.57 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange after falling 11c on Thursday. The contract also touched a new three-year high on Wednesday.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures closed at $66.14 a barrel, up 63 cents, or almost 1 percent. That put total inventories at 411.6 million barrels, the lowest since February 2015, according to Reuters.

Crude inventories fell by 1.1 million barrels in the week to January 19, compared with analyst expectations for a decrease of 1.6 million barrels.

Oil traded in NY is on track for its strongest January performance in 12 years as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and other major producers pressed on with supply caps amid robust demand.

The drop also comes at a time of synchronized global economic growth that is raising hopes about demand for oil.

As a result, U.S. commercial storage declined by another 1.1 million barrels in the week ending January 19, settling at 411.6 million barrels, according to a report the U.S. Energy Information Administration released Wednesday.

Brent futures have moved into the largest and most sustained backwardation since June and July 2014, before the slump began and when the spot price was still trading above $100 per barrel.

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The weaker level of the U.S. dollar is also adding upward momentum.

United States energy companies added 12 oil rigs this week, the biggest weekly increase since March, as crude prices hovered near their highest levels since 2014. Still, he pointed to rising product inventories as a potential bearish signal.

Gasoline inventories rose by 3.1 million barrels and stocks of distillate fuels, which include diesel, were up by 639,000 barrels.

On the supply side, US oil production is expected to hit 10 million barrels per day soon, putting it on par with top exporter Saudi Arabia.

EIA forecast earlier this month that this year, the highest ever annual average production.

US output has grown by more than 17 per cent since mid-2016, and is now on par with that of top exporter Saudi Arabia.

Surging supplies of American oil played a major role in the price collapse of 2014.

Futures climbed as much as 1.2% on Friday in NY, pushing the weekly advance to 4.4%. In December 2016 was a meeting of oil producers outside the OPEC.