18 August 2012, 14:40
Oil rises as U.S. consumer confidence improves
LONDON. August 18. KAZINFORM Oil rose for a fourth day on reports as U.S. consumer confidence improved, signaling the economy is recovering, and rising tension in the Middle East.
Futures capped a third weekly gain as the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index beat expectations and the Conference Board's leading economic indicators climbed more than forecast. Prices also gained as Hezbollah threatened to retaliate if Israel attacked Iran and security concern grew in Syria and Lebanon, Bloomberg reports.
"The economic data are getting better," said Jacob Correll, a Louisville, Kentucky-based analyst at Summit Energy Inc., which manages more than $20 billion in companies' annual energy spending. "You have a lot of tension ratcheting up in the Middle East and oil's been having a rally."
Oil for September delivery rose 41 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $96.01 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest settlement since May 11. The price is up 9 percent in August and 13 percent in the third quarter.
Brent crude for October fell $1.56, or 1.3 percent, to settle at $113.71 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange after reaching the highest level since May yesterday. Brent's premium to October West Texas Intermediate, the New York benchmark, narrowed to $17.39 from $19.38.
"The trend for higher prices in Brent still remains in place because producers have to go through the maintenance season over the course of August and September," said Harry Tchilinguirian, BNP Paribas SA's London-based head of commodity markets strategy. "This is the slight retrenchment after a period of strong gain."
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