Brent Oil Rises to $75
(Bloomberg) -- Brent crude oil reached $75 a barrel for the first time since October, as a U.S. decision to remove sanctions waivers on Iran continued to support prices.
Futures in London rose as much as 0.6 percent, gaining for a fifth consecutive session. Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said on Wednesday that his nation saw no immediate need for action in the oil market, after a U.S. decision not to renew waivers on Iran sanctions.
Oil shrugged off U.S. government data that showed crude stockpiles rose by 5.48 million barrels last week, compared with an increase of 1 million barrels forecast in a Bloomberg survey.
Brent is set for a fifth straight week of gains, even as the jump in U.S. stockpiles earlier in the week slowed the rally spurred by Washington’s move to end waivers from sanctions on Iranian oil. Investors are waiting to see how the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries responds when the exemptions expire May 2.
“If Iran goes down to zero that’s 1 million barrels a day off the market and Saudi Arabia is in no rush to replace those barrels,’’ said Tamas Varga, an analyst at PVM Oil Associates Ltd. “At the moment the view you should take is that from next week the market is going to get even tighter than it is now.’’
Brent for June settlement was up 0.3 percent at $74.82 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange by 8:25 a.m. local time. It closed little changed at $74.57 on Wednesday.
West Texas Intermediate for June delivery slipped by 2 cents to $65.87 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract declined 41 cents on Wednesday. Brent was at a premium of $8.97 to WTI.
Nationwide American inventories increased to about 461 million barrels in the week ended April 19, Energy Information Administration data showed Wednesday. Stockpiles in the storage hub of Cushing, Oklahoma, rose for the first time in three weeks.
The EIA report may have given little comfort to the Saudis, and is likely to reinforce the world’s top exporter’s wait-and-see strategy. While the U.S. is asking Riyadh to start boosting output to replace the loss of Iranian barrels, Minister Al-Falih said on Wednesday the kingdom won’t go for a significant increase in May and will stay within its OPEC limits until the group’s supply deal ends in June.
--With assistance from Tsuyoshi Inajima.To contact the reporters on this story: Sharon Cho in Singapore at firstname.lastname@example.org ;Alex Longley in London at email@example.com To contact the editors responsible for this story: Pratish Narayanan at firstname.lastname@example.org Brian Wingfield, John Deane
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