West Texas Intermediate crude rose, adding to its fifth weekly gain amid an improved economic outlook in the U.S., the world’s biggest oil consumer.
Futures advanced as much as 0.7 percent in New York, extending the longest stretch of weekly gains in a year. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary consumer confidence sentiment index held at 81.2 this month, data showed, higher than the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. Hedge funds were the most bullish on WTI in more than five months as a pipeline eased a supply bottleneck in the U.S., according to Commodity Futures Trading Commission data.
“There’s generally a good feel about the economy,” said Jonathan Barratt, the chief executive officer of Barratt’s Bulletin in Sydney. “Oil has held onto $100, and if prices stay above here, then it should move higher.”
WTI for March delivery gained as much as 74 cents to $101.04 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, and was at $100.60 at 12:25 p.m. Sydney time. The contract slid 5 cents to $100.30 on Feb. 14. Prices are up 2.2 percent this year. The volume of all futures traded is more than double the 100-day average. Nymex floor trading will be closed today for the U.S. Presidents Day holiday.
Brent for April settlement was at $109.21 a barrel, up 13 cents, on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Prices are down 1.4 percent this year. The front-month European benchmark contract was at a premium of $8.61 to WTI.
Money managers increased net-long positions, or wagers on rising prices, for WTI by 11 percent in the week ended Feb. 11, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show.
Crude supplies at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for the WTI futures contract, are at the lowest level since Nov. 1, the Energy Information Administration reported Feb. 12. Stockpiles have declined since the southern leg of TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL pipeline began moving oil to the Gulf Coast last month.