Oil Shrugs Off Build, Breaks above $83

Breaking above an $83 resistance area, NYMEX crude futures extended this week's gains as the dollar's losses accelerated purchasing for the energy commodity amid relatively light trading volumes.

Spurred higher by a bullish euro, the price of light, sweet crude oil for May delivery rose to $83.76 a barrel. Interestingly, oil gained on the session in spite of bearish technical news on the domestic front.

Rising alongside crude, NYMEX gasoline futures edged up to $2.31 a gallon despite a surprise build in the energy product's stocks for the previous week. Gasoline's front-month contract expired at the close of Wednesday's session.

On the opposite side of the energy coin, natural gas spot prices at the Henry Hub for May delivery reversed yesterday's positive movement, instead closing in negative territory at $3.87 Mcf.

Despite Rising Supplies, Oil Has Its Day

Today, market participants, preoccupied with end-of-quarter trading, seemingly dismissed the Energy Information Administration's report of an additional build in U.S. crude stocks in the week to Mar. 26.

Specifically, the EIA reported that crude inventories added some 2.9 million barrels, or much higher than the API's forecast for a 421,000-barrel build.

Further, the EIA spotlighted an unexpected rise in gasoline stocks by 300,000 barrels; however, distillates, which include heating oil and diesel, fell by 1.1 million barrels.

For the quarter ended March 31, NYMEX spot prices are headed to a gain of nearly 5%, according to Reuters, and have locked into a range between $77 and $83 -- stronger prices that are providing a positive backdrop for oil companies to further oil and gas exploration and production projects.