US Crude, Brent Hit Two-Week Highs On Perceived Stocks Draw


NEW YORK, May 13 (Reuters) - U.S. crude oil rose by more than $1 a barrel to two-week highs on Tuesday as traders expected weekly government inventory reports to show stockpiles at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery point plunged to new record lows last week.

Brent rose as well as strength in the U.S. crude and gasoline markets outweighed the prospects for rebounding supply from Libya.

Stocks of U.S. crude oil at Cushing dropped to their lowest levels since 2008 in the week to May 2, and analysts said they expect supplies were drawn down further last week as the United States nears the start of its summer driving season when fuel demand usually rises.

According to industry group the American Petroleum Institute stocks at Cushing fell 590,000 barrels last week, while nationwide commercial crude stocks rose 912,000 barrels.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration will release its official report on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. EDT (1430 GMT).

"We rallied because we are getting closer to minimal operating levels at Cushing," said Carl Larry, CEO of consultancy Oil Outlooks in Houston, Texas. "Demand for what is coming out of Cushing is still strong."

U.S. crude settled $1.11 higher at $101.70 a barrel, its highest settlement since April 29. Tuesday's settlement also marked the first time in nearly three weeks that U.S. crude settled above the 50-day moving average, a key technical level the American benchmark has struggled to climb above.


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