Crude gains as Ukraine crisis flares up, supply concerns weigh

A A A - - Escalating tensions in eastern Ukraine sent oil prices rising on Thursday along with upbeat U.S. data, though gains were somewhat capped by ongoing concerns that the world is awash in crude, as ongoing military conflicts in eastern Europe and the Middle East have yet to disrupt supply.

In the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude oil for delivery in October traded up 0.69% at $94.53 a barrel during U.S. trading. New York-traded oil futures hit a session low of $93.46 a barrel and a high of $94.70 a barrel.

The October contract settled up 0.55% at $93.86 a barrel on Tuesday.

Nymex oil futures were likely to find support at $92.50 a barrel, Thursday's low, and resistance at $95.14 a barrel, the high from Aug. 18.

A top Ukrainian military official was reported as saying earlier that a "full-scale invasion" was taking place in the country, while separate reports that up to 1,000 Russian troops were in Ukraine to assist pro-Russian rebels boosted oil prices on fears the conflict may disrupt crude exports out of Russia.

The U.S. has repeatedly said Russian has been meddling in the fighting in eastern Ukraine, a charge Moscow denies.

Upbeat data gave oil support as well.

The U.S. gross domestic product grew at a revised annualized rate of 4.2% in the second quarter of this year, according to the Commerce Department, up from a preliminary estimate of 4.0% and better than market forecasts for a downward revision to 3.9%.

Elsewhere, the U.S. Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending Aug. 22 declined by 1,000 to 298,000 from the previous week's revised total of 299,000.

Analysts were expecting the figure to rise by 1,000 instead of contract by that amount, which gave the greenback added support.

A separate report showed that U.S. pending home sales increased by 3.3% last month, beating expectations for a 0.5% rise. June's figure was revised to a 1.3% drop from a previously estimated decline of 1.1%.

Still, supply concerns weighed on the economy.

While the U.S., the world's largest consumer of crude, is on the mend economically, the global economy still battles headwinds at a time when oil supplies are ample.

Separately, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil futures for October delivery were down 0.05% at US$102.67 a barrel, while the spread between the Brent and U.S. crude contracts stood at US$8.14 a barrel. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.
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