Oil above $91 a bar­rel ahead of United States in­ven­tory data

The Pak Banker - - I Nternational -

SINGAPORE: Oil stead­ied above $91 a bar­rel on Wed­nes­day ahead of U.S. in­ven­tory data ex­pected to show a draw­down in crude and dis­til­late stocks due to se­vere weather in the world's largest oil user. NYMEX crude for Fe­bru­ary de­liv­ery nudged three cents higher to $91.52 a bar­rel by 0731 GMT (2:31 a.m. ET), while ICE Brent crude traded un­changed at $94.38.

U.S. oil prices climbed to a 26-month high of $91.88 on Mon­day, driven by a broad spec­trum of fac­tors rang­ing from the dol­lar and cold weather to OPEC and surg­ing global fuel de­mand.

"In­vestors are es­pe­cially keen to fol­low what­ever fac­tor is most sup­port­ive of prices mov­ing higher," said an­a­lysts at Cameron Hanover in a re­search note. Bullish money man­agers have stormed into the oil mar­ket, set­ting a fresh record high for net long crude po­si­tions on the New York Mer­can­tile Ex­change.

Oil's rally looked all the more se­cure due to rhetoric from sev­eral OPEC min­is­ters, who have sig­naled $100 was a fair price. Crude's rise, how­ever, took a breather early Wed­nes­day on fore­casts for warmer tem­per­a­tures in the snow-slammed U.S. North­east, curb­ing de­mand in the world's top heat­ing oil mar­ket. "Oil is track­ing the cold weather in the North­east of the United States and also the dol­lar against the euro," said Tetsu Emori, a fund man­ager at Tokyo-based Ast­max Co Ltd.

The icy weather has boosted dis­til­late needs, which in­cludes heat­ing oil and diesel fuel, and U.S. stocks were ex­pected to have fallen 500,000 bar­rels last week, a Reuters poll showed. Crude in­ven­to­ries in the world's biggest econ­omy were pegged to have fallen 2.9 mil­lion bar­rels, while gaso­line stocks were seen up 1.5 mil­lion bar­rels. -Ap

BEI­JING: Sop­pers walk around Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions at a shop­ping mall. China so­lid­i­fied its fi­nan­cial might in 2010, be­com­ing the world's sec­ond-largest econ­omy, but it was of­ten in­flex­i­ble and iso­lated on the po­lit­i­cal stage --an in­tran­si­gence typ­i­fied by the No­bel peace prize drama. -Ap

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