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Oil holds near seven-month high at $49.49

Industry news
Industry news

Oil held gains near the highest close in seven months as U.S. industry data showed crude stockpiles declined, trimming a glut.

Futures climbed as much as 0.6 percent in New York after rising 4.5 percent the previous two sessions. Inventories fell by 1.14 million barrels last week, the American Petroleum Institute was said to report. Government data Wednesday is forecast to show supplies slid for a second week. Wildfires in Canada have shifted back toward oil-sands operations, forcing Suncor Energy Inc. to evacuate three sites it was restarting.

Oil has surged more than 80 percent since slumping to the lowest in 12 years earlier this year on signs the global glut will ease as U.S. output declines. The market moved into a deficit earlier than expected following supply disruptions in Nigeria and an increase in demand, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

“Disruptions to supply, rising demand and falling U.S. output have helped to push prices up near the $50 level,” David Lennox, an analyst at Fat Prophets in Sydney, said by phone. “Demand looks much more solid than we’ve seen for some years and will probably flow through into 2017. The high inventories in the U.S. will continue to act as a strong headwind against any sustained rally.”

West Texas Intermediate for June delivery gained as much as 27 cents to $48.58 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $48.49 at 12:25 p.m. Hong Kong time. The contract gained 59 cents to $48.31 on Tuesday, the highest close since Oct. 9. Total volume traded was about 30 percent below the 100-day average.

U.S. Stockpiles

Brent for July settlement added as much as 21 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $49.49 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The contract increased 31 cents to $49.28 Tuesday, the highest close since Nov. 3. The global benchmark crude traded at a premium of 26 cents to WTI for July.

Crude inventories at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for WTI and the biggest U.S. oil-storage hub, increased by 508,000 barrels, the API said Tuesday, according to a people familiar with the figures. Nationwide stockpiles probably fell by 3.5 million barrels, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey before a report from the Energy Information Administration.

Oil-market news:

Suncor Energy is flying employees from its MacKay River, Firebag and base plant sites as it shuts down the facilities days after beginning the process of resuming output. Venezuela is offering oil at the biggest discounts in seven years as the third-largest supplier to U.S. refineries fights to defend its market share from Canadian and Middle Eastern grades.

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