Oil steadied after its biggest rally in eight weeks in New York as the focus shifted from rising U.S. refinery demand to the prospects for a U.S. interest rate gain this year.
Futures edged 0.3 percent higher after surging 6.3 percent yesterday. U.S. refiners boosted operating rates last week, according to an Energy Information Administration report Wednesday. Odds the Federal Reserve will move on rates at their next meeting jumped to 50 percent from around 32 percent a week ago, based on futures prices, after officials signaled they’re prepared to tighten. Data showed American economic growth slowed last quarter.
Oil failed to sustain a gain above $50 a barrel earlier this month as the global glut showed little sign of easing any time soon. U.S. crude stockpiles are more than 100 million barrels above the five-year seasonal average, EIA data show. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries continues to pump above its quota and the International Energy Agency estimates the surplus will remain until at least the middle of 2016.
West Texas Intermediate for December delivery increased 12 cents to close at $46.06 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It’s the highest close since Oct. 16. The contract gained $2.74 on Wednesday, the most since Aug. 31. The volume of all futures traded was 3.2 percent above the 100-day average at 2:56 p.m.