Oil futures jumped the most in two months after Saudi Arabia raised prices for crude shipments to Asia, as demand from refineries improved.
West Texas Intermediate crude surged 6.1 percent in New York and Brent gained 5.8 percent in London, where volumes were about 50 percent below the 100-day average because of the Easter Monday holiday. Saudi Arabia narrowed the discount on its main Arab Light grade for next month’s sales to Asia.
U.S. refineries are processing record amounts of crude for this time of year, while Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said last month that global demand was picking up. Prices also rebounded from losses spurred by Iran’s nuclear accord with world powers last week, on speculation the OPEC member won’t add to a global glut anytime soon.
West Texas Intermediate for May delivery gained $3 to end at $52.14 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was the biggest gain since Feb. 3 and the highest close since Feb. 18. The exchange was closed April 3 for the Good Friday holiday.