Oil jumps to $105 as US fuel supplies fall

LONDON - Oil jumped $4 a barrel on Wednesday, extending an earlier gain, after a U.S. government report showed larger-than-expected drops in fuel stocks in the world’s top consumer.

By (Reuters)

Published: Wed 26 Mar 2008, 10:59 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 1:24 PM

Gasoline inventories fell by 3.3 million barrels, the Energy Information Administration said, more than the 800,000-barrel decline expected. Distillates dropped 2.2 million barrels, also more than forecast.

“Today’s numbers are a nice bullish surprise and come on a day when the other commodities are picking up as well,” said Mike Zarembski, analyst at optionsXpress in Chicago.

“On gasoline, that’s not exactly what we wanted to see heading into the driving season.”

U.S. crude rose $4.02 to $105.24 a barrel by 1524 GMT, extending the 36-cent gain on Tuesday. It has fallen from a record high of $111.80 reached on March 17. London Brent added $2.87 to $103.47.

Crude oil inventories also bucked expectations. Stocks were expected to rise by 1.7 million barrels last week, but were unchanged.

Earlier on Wednesday, oil rose as a weakening U.S. dollar prompted some investors to shift money back into commodities and a 24-hour strike disrupted operations at French ports.

The dollar slid after data showed that new orders for long-lasting U.S.-made manufactured goods unexpectedly fell 1.7 percent during February, supporting oil and other commodities.

Gold, which like oil is used by investors as a hedge against inflation, hit a one-week high and industrial metals such as copper also gained.

French port and dock workers started the strike at 0500 GMT at French state-owned ports to protest against government plans to privatise the loading activities of seven out of nine of the public ports.

The strike was giving a lift to gas oil futures, the benchmark for diesel and heating oil in Europe, traders said. Gas oil was up 4 percent at $945.75 a tonne.

Analysts said a workers’ strike in Gabon that had halted 60,000 barrels of daily output from a Shell subsidiary in the West African nation also encouraged oil’s gains.

There was also a possibility that Iraq’s oil output could be affected by violence in the country’s south.

Oil production and exports from the southern oilfields could be disrupted in three days if workers cannot reach their offices due to fighting in Basra, a Southern Oil Company official said.

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