MELBOURNE: Oil traded near the highest close in three days before reports that may show a strengthening of the economy in the U.S., the world’s biggest crude consumer.
Futures were little changed in New York after rising 0.2% last week. Consumer purchases that account for about 70% of the U.S. economy probably climbed by the most since the end of 2010, according to a Bloomberg News survey before an April 27 Commerce Department report. Iraq halted crude exports from northern fields because of a technical fault at a pipeline network in neighboring Turkey, the Oil Ministry said.
Crude for June delivery was at US$103.77 a barrel, down 11 cents, in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 9:40 a.m. Sydney time. The contract rose 1.1% to US$103.88 on April 20, the highest close since April 17. Front- month prices are 5% higher this year.
Brent oil for June settlement was at US$118.63 a barrel, down 13 cents, on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark contract’s front month premium to West Texas Intermediate was at US$14.85, from US$14.88 on April 20.
Iraq’s crude exports stopped at 7:45 p.m. on April 21, the ministry said in a statement on the website of the official National Media Center yesterday. The nation normally exports 450,000 to 500,000 barrels a day from northern fields through Turkey. It ships most of its oil from the south on tankers sailing from the Persian Gulf.
U.S. consumer spending may have risen 2.3% last quarter, according to the Bloomberg survey. That would follow a 2.1% gain in the prior period. Gross domestic product rose at a 2.5% annual rate after advancing 3% in the previous three months, according to the median forecast in a separate Bloomberg survey before the Commerce Department’s April 27 release. (Bloomberg/T07/aph)