Markets

Oil Near Highest in a Week as Fed Says Ready to Protect Growth: report

Oil traded near the highest level in more than a week after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said that while further stimulus is unlikely, central banks "remain prepared to do more" to protect the economy, Bloomberg reported.

It said futures were little changed, paring an earlier gain after more Americans than forecast filed applications for unemployment benefits last week.

Economic growth is expected to "remain moderate over coming quarters and then to pick up gradually," the Federal Open Market Committee said in a statement. U.S. crude supplies gained more than estimated last week, and Iran's envoy in Moscow said his country may halt the expansion of its atomic program to avert new Western sanctions.

Crude for June delivery was at US$103.89 a barrel, down 23 cents, in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 1.38 p.m. London time. The contract yesterday rose 57 cents to US$104.12, the highest close since April 17. Front-month futures climbed for the past four days, the most in two months. Prices are 5.1% higher this year.

Brent oil for June settlement was at US$119.32 a barrel, up 20 cents, on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark contract's front month premium to West Texas Intermediate was at US$15.46, up from US$15 yesterday.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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