West Texas Intermediate crude headed for a sixth weekly gain, the longest rising streak in a year, as cold weather in the U.S. bolstered demand for heating fuels in the world’s biggest oil consumer. Brent increased.
Futures were little changed in New York, up 2.5 percent this week. Distillate supplies, including heating oil and diesel, shrank by 339,000 barrels to 112.7 million in the seven days through Feb. 14, the Energy Information Administration reported yesterday. Crude stockpiles at Cushing, Oklahoma, dropped a third week while total inventories rose less than forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of analysts.
“We are getting colder-than-usual weather in the U.S.,” said Michael McCarthy, a chief strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney who predicts investors may sell WTI contracts at about $103 a barrel. “We have also technical momentum now after breaking through resistance at about $100.50 a barrel.”
WTI for April delivery was at $102.73 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, down 2 cents, at 12 p.m. Sydney time. The March contract expired yesterday after falling 39 cents to $102.92. The volume of all futures traded was about 75 percent below the 100-day average. Prices have advanced 4.4 percent this year.
Brent for April settlement traded 12 cents higher at $110.42 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark crude was at a premium of $7.69 to WTI, compared with $7.55 yesterday.
U.S. crude inventories climbed by 973,000 barrels, EIA data show. Supplies were projected to expand by 2.25 million, according to the median estimate of 10 analysts in the Bloomberg survey. The EIA is the Energy Department’s statistical arm.