NEW YORK: Oil prices rose yesterday, despite easing political worries and an improving supply picture, as traders sought bargains after sharp losses earlier this month.
The benchmark is still down over 4 percent so far in September, on track for its biggest monthly fall since April. It is down nearly $8 from its peak earlier in the month as fears have faded about conflict in the Middle East.
That steep decline has brought some buyers back in the market, analysts said. “There had been some shorts in the market, and they’re probably willing to cover, with equities higher,” said Bob Yawger, director of commodity futures at Mizuho Securities.
Brent oil gained 61 cents to $108.93 a barrel by 1533 GMT, after slipping to $108 earlier in the session. US crude futures rose 36 cents to $103.02 a barrel. The spread between the two benchmarks widened to $5.91.
The demand/supply balance was also capping prices, analysts said. Supply was recovering from Libya, and bigger US stockpiles were putting pressure on prices.
Oil inventories in the United States rose 2.6 million barrels to 358 million barrels last week, which helped push US crude oil futures lower immediately after the US Energy Information Administration released the data.