Crude prices jumped to their highest since December aided by higher selling prices for Saudi crude to North America and Europe, disruption in Libyan oil exports and a weaker dollar.
Saudi Arabia indicated that it was not planning to curb its crude exports which have surged to slightly above 10 million barrels a day.
The Saudi oil Minister, Ali Al-Naimi, also announced that the kingdom was raising its official selling prices to refineries in Europe and North America.
Traders are taking this move as an illustration of Saudi confidence that global demand was improving.
The really was also aided by reports that the European commission had raised its economic growth outlook for the Euro zone and US data showing that the country’s trade deficit soared in March.
Light Sweet crude for June delivery added $1.47 or 2.5% to settle at $60.40 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange- the first time the US benchmark has settled above $60 a barrel since December 10 last year.
“We’ve broken a psychologically important level,” Gene McGillian, a senior analyst at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut, told Bloomberg..
“It’s related to the idea that North American production will decline and the supply glut will ease.”
Brent futures, the global benchmark, advanced $1.07 or 1.6% to $67.02 a barrel on the London Based ICE Futures Exchange.
“A combination of hampered exports in Libya combined with the expectation of tightening fundamentals in the U.S. to catapult [West Texas Intermediate crude] back above $60 [and] pole-vault Brent [above] $67,” Matt Smith, a commodity analyst at Schneider Electric, told Market Watch.
“Protests have stopped crude flows to an eastern Libyan port, while the expectation of peaking U.S. production and higher demand for crude to refine into products as we move toward driving season has the bulls on the charge,”.
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