Oil advanced a second day, rising briefly above $30 a barrel in New York for the first time in almost a week.
West Texas Intermediate futures rose 1.1 percent in electronic trading in New York after surging 12 percent on Friday. Speculators’ long positions in WTI through Feb. 9 rose to the highest since June, according to data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Iran loaded its first cargo to Europe since international sanctions ended, while Chinese crude imports eased from a record.
Oil in New York is down about 20 percent this year. While the outlook for increased Iranian exports threatens to further boost record oil stockpiles, major companies including Chevron Corp. and Anadarko Petroleum Corp. are curbing spending on exploration and development of new resources. Crude surged the most in seven years on Feb. 12 after the United Arab Emirates repeated OPEC’s readiness to engage with other producers.
WTI for March delivery gained as much as 71 cents to $30.15 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $29.76 as electronic trading ended at 1 p.m. The New York Mercantile Exchange floor was closed Monday for the Presidents Day holiday, and trades will be booked Tuesday. The contract gained $3.23, or 12 percent, to close at $29.44 on Friday after dropping 19 percent the previous six sessions. WTI prices lost 4.7 percent last week.
Brent for April settlement rose 3 cents to settle at $33.39 a barrel after reaching $33.97 in intraday trading on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark was at a premium of $1.51 to April WTI at 1:42 p.m. in New York.