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06.03.2014 16:44

Oil fluctuated

West Texas Intermediate crude, which fell the most in two months yesterday, held above $101 as the government reported that fewer Americans than projected filed applications for unemployment benefits last week.

Prices were little changed after dropping as much as 0.9 percent. Jobless claims declined to the least since November, the Labor Department said. The euro strengthened to a two-month high against the dollar as European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said inflation is expected to rise gradually. Futures are down almost $4 from a five-month high of $105.22 on March 3.

Applications for unemployment benefits decreased 26,000 last week to 323,000, fewer than any economist forecast in a Bloomberg survey. The four-week average, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, was 336,500 from 338,500 in the prior period.

The U.S., the world’s biggest oil-consuming country, will use 18.9 million barrels a day of oil this year, according to the Energy Information Administration.

The euro jumped as much as 0.9 percent to $1.3857, the highest level since Dec. 27. A stronger euro and weaker dollar increase oil’s investment appeal. The ECB left its benchmark interest rate at 0.25 percent at its monthly meeting today in Frankfurt.

WTI dropped $3.47 in the previous two days. It reached the highest level since September on March 3 as tension between Russia, the world’s biggest energy exporter, and Ukraine spurred concern that global supplies would be disrupted.

Russia produced 9.9 million barrels a day of crude in 2012 and exported about 5 million, according to the EIA, the Energy Department’s statistical arm

WTI for April delivery dropped 17 cents to $101.28 a barrel at 11:08 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The volume of all futures traded was about 27 percent more than the 100-day average.

Brent for April settlement was down 4 cents at $107.72 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Volume was 27 percent above the 100-day average. The European benchmark crude was at a premium of $6.44 to WTI. The spread ended yesterday’s session at $6.31.

06.03.2014 16:21

Gold rose

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