ECB President Mario Draghi

Oil Set for First Monthly Gain in Three on Stimulus Speculation

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July 31, 2012

(Bloomberg) — Oil in New York headed for the first monthly increase since April before meetings of central bank policy makers to discuss the economy and a report tomorrow that may show U.S. crude stockpiles declined.

Futures were little changed after advancing as much as 0.6 percent. The European Central Bank and the U.S. Federal Reserve hold meetings this week, with ECB President Mario Draghi having pledged on July 26 to preserve the euro. U.S. crude inventories probably dropped 1.1 million barrels last week, according to a Bloomberg News survey before Energy Department data tomorrow. Enbridge Inc. said it won’t restart an oil pipeline to Midwest refineries that leaked until at least tomorrow.

“Crude futures are taking their cue from the broader market,” said Andrey Kryuchenkov, an analyst at VTB Capital in London, who predicts New York oil will remain in a range from $84 to $93 a barrel. “Euro zone policy makers are still boosting sentiment this side of the Atlantic by reiterating their commitment to the single currency union.”

Crude for September delivery was at $90.07 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, 29 cents higher, at 1:39 p.m. London time. The contract yesterday slid 0.4 percent to $89.78, the lowest close since July 26. Prices have climbed 6 percent this month and dropped 9 percent this year.

Brent oil for September settlement on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange traded little changed at $106.27 a barrel. The European benchmark crude was at a $16.20 premium to New York-traded West Texas Intermediate grade. The spread was $16.42 yesterday, the widest in almost 10 weeks.

Moving Average

Oil in New York has long-term technical support along its 50-month moving average at $84.25 a barrel, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Futures settled above this indicator at the end of May and June. Buy orders tend to be clustered near chart-support levels.

Crude fell for the first time in five days yesterday as economic confidence in the euro area decreased. An index of executive and consumer sentiment in the 17-nation euro area slid to 87.9 in July from 89.9 in June, the European Commission in Brussels said. That’s the lowest since September 2009.

The European Union accounted for 16 percent of global oil demand last year, according to BP Plc’s annual Statistical Review of World Energy.

The U.S. Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meets for two days starting today. The ECB’s Governing Council and the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee will convene Aug. 2.

Fuel Supplies

Gasoline stockpiles in the U.S., the world’s largest oil consumer, were probably unchanged in the seven days ended July 27 after rising to 210 million barrels, according to the median estimate of eight analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News.

Refineries are expected to have kept operating rates near a five-year high, the survey showed. Crude runs probably averaged 92.5 percent of capacity last week, from 93 percent in the prior period. Rates dropped to as low as 81.8 percent in January.

The American Petroleum Institute in Washington will release separate inventory data today. The industry group collects stockpile information on a voluntary basis from operators of refineries, bulk terminals and pipelines. The government requires that reports be filed with the Energy Department for its weekly survey.

Enbridge shut its Line 14, which runs from Superior, Wisconsin, to Griffith/Hartsdale in Indiana, after the 317,600 barrel-a-day link leaked on July 27. The line could return to service Aug. 1 at the earliest after repairs, Ed Culhane, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, said yesterday.

– Grant Smith, Copyright 2012 Bloomberg
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