Saturday, April 25, 2009

>Crude up on dollar; shakes off Wed supply data

London -Crude oil futures moved higher in London Thursday, boosted by a weaker dollar.

Prices were resilient despite oil stockpiles in the U.S., the world's largest energy consumer, at a 19-year high.

"It's holding up pretty well despite perceived bearish (U.S. inventory) stats yesterday," said Tony Machacek, a broker at Bache Commodities in London.

At 1130 GMT, the front-month June Brent contract on London's ICE futures exchange was up $0.50 at $50.31 a barrel.

The front-month June contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange was trading $0.91 higher at $49.76 a barrel.

The ICE's gasoil contract for May delivery was up $5.50 at $429.75 a metric ton, while Nymex gasoline for May delivery was up 52 points at 139.58 cents a gallon.

Buying interest from funds and day traders propped up prices Thursday, as some participants shrugged off Wednesday's data from the U.S. Department of Energy. The figures showed a 3.9 million barrel rise in oil inventories, coupled with a fall in demand to a 10-year low.

The muted reaction to the DOE figures reflected the recent strengthening influence of equities and macroeconomic factors on oil.

"Crude investors are presently more focused on the greenback together with the equity markets and rather inclined to disregard fundamentals," said Marius Paun, a broker at ODL Securities in London. In recent months, oil has become a safe haven for investors seeking refuge from a weaker dollar.

But the oil market's deteriorating fundamentals will be difficult to ignore for much longer, some analysts said.

"There is very little that can support the market at the moment," said Andrey Kryuchenkov, vice president of commodities research at VTB Capital in London, who pegged key support for Nymex crude at $48 a barrel.

"Depending on what happens to equity markets and the dollar, we could be in for some profit-taking on a sustained breach of this level in the next couple of days," he said.

Prices won't be able to withstand the weight of high inventories for crude oil and refined products, said Peter Beutel of trading advisory firm Cameron Hanover.

"The fundamentals are poor, we are running out of seasonal influence and (refinery) turnarounds are largely behind seems like a matter of time before prices fall," he said.