Crude oil rises to 30-month high

April 2, 2011 - 0:0
Oil rose to a 30-month high in New York as economic data from China spurred hope of growing demand in the world’s biggest energy user and fighting in Libya fanned concern that output cuts may spread to Middle East producers. Futures advanced as much as 0.9 percent, extending the biggest quarterly rally since 2009, as troops loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi retook control of the oil port of Ras Lanuf and shelled Brega, another energy hub. In China, manufacturing growth accelerated for the first time in four months, a government report showed. “You got the perception of further oil demand from China at the time we got the unrest in the Middle East,” said Glen Ward, head of retail derivatives at London Capital Group. “This is making the market firm.” Crude for May delivery rose as much as 93 cents to $107.65 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest front-month price since Sept. 26, 2008. It was at $107.19 at 9:39 p.m. London time. The contract climbed $2.45 yesterday to $106.72 a barrel and is heading for its second weekly gain. Brent oil futures traded up 34 cents at $117.70 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London. China’s Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 53.4 in March from 52.2 in February, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said in a statement. Readings above 50 indicate expansion. The data may indicate China’s government is succeeding in sustaining growth while tackling an inflation rate that topped the government’s target in the first two months of this year. Crude futures will probably be little changed next week amid concern that the Libyan conflict will spread and that the March 11 earthquake and tsunami will cut Japanese fuel demand, according to a Bloomberg News survey. Fifteen of 31 analysts, or 48 percent, predicted crude oil will be little changed through April 8. Eleven respondents, or 35 percent, estimated prices will rise and five projected a decline. Last week, 46 percent said futures would fall. (Source: Bloomberg)