Crude edges up toward $106


  • Business
  • Thursday, 15 Mar 2012

TOKYO, March 15 (Reuters) U.S. crude futures edged up on Thursday, paring the previous session's 1.2percent decline, but a strong dollar and bulging crude inventories in the world's top oil consumer kept a lid on gains.

FUNDAMENTALS

* NYMEX crude for April delivery was up 26 cents at $105.69 a barrel by 0006 GMT, after settling down $1.28 at $105.43 on Wednesday.

* London Brent crude for April delivery, which will expire at the end of Thursday's session, was untraded yet, after settling down $1.25 at $124.97.

The contract on Tuesday settled at $126.22, the highest close since April 8, 2011, on an improved U.S. economic outlook.

* Crude stocks at the U.S. delivery hub in Cushing, Oklahoma surged 2.5 million barrels to a ninemonth high, government data showed. Cushing posted its biggest 8week build since early 2009, and stood at its highest since June 2011.

U.S. crude oil inventories rose 1.75 million barrels last week, the weekly report from the Energy Information Administration said. Gasoline stocks fell 1.41 million barrels and distillate stocks fell 4.68 million barrels.

* U.S. President Barack Obama said on Wednesday the window for a diplomatic solution with Iran over its nuclear program was shrinking and he encouraged Tehran to seize the opportunity of talks to avert even worse consequences than current economic sanctions.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll showed that most Americans would support U.S. military action against Iran if there were evidence that it was building nuclear weapons, even if such action led to higher gasoline prices.

* Saudi Arabia is committed to fill any "perceived or real" oil supply gaps, Ali alNaimi, the kingdom's oil minister said in a speech at the International Energy Forum in Kuwait.

* Incremental oil supply from nonOPEC countries running short of expectations and a high level of supply outages are supporting oil prices despite slack global fuel demand growth, the International Energy Agency said.

MARKETS NEWS

* The S&P 500 broke a fiveday streak of gains on Wednesday as investors found little reason to extend a rally that took the benchmark index to fouryear highs.

* The dollar was holding hefty gains in Asia on Thursday after yet another stellar offshore session, as optimism about the U.S. economic recovery sparked a spike in Treasury yields.

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