Oil Pushes Above $100 on Central Bank Eurozone Intervention

(REUTERS) -- Oil jumped on Wednesday after a coordinated move by central banks to address pressures in global money markets.

Brent crude was up 75 cents to $1 to $111.57 by 1417 GMT. It earlier reached the day's high of $112.03. U.S. crude gained $1.33 to $101.12 a barrel. Both contracts reached their highest since November 17.

A move by China to cut reserve requirements also supported prices, while better than expected U.S. employment data added to more bullish sentiment.

The central banks of the United States, euro zone, Japan , Canada, Britain and Switzerland announced on Wednesday coordinated global action to provide liquidity to the financial system, lowering the price on existing dollar swaps, and pushing the dollar lower.

"You get a weakening of the dollar when people move money out of treasuries back into riskier assets, and what we've seen today is increased inventory risk appetite," said Gareth Lewis-Davies, oil and commodities strategist for BNP Paribas.

"People are moving money out of the safe haven of U.S. Treasuries back into equities and commodities."

Oil, priced in dollars, tends to benefit from a weaker U.S. currency, as it becomes more affordable to holders of other currencies .

"The announcement caught markets by surprise and prompted short covering in dollar-euro and a firming in oil price," said Mark Thomas, head of energy Europe, Marex Spectron in London.

"It is supportive. Difficult to predict for how long."

The pace of job growth in the private sector accelerated in November, with U.S. employers adding 206,000 jobs, a report by a payrolls processor showed on Wednesday.

The ADP National Employment Report surpassed economists' expectations for a gain of 130,000 jobs.

China's central bank cut the reserve requirement ratio for its banks on Wednesday by 50 basis points for the first time in nearly three years.

"More paper money in the market, that means more expensive oil," said Thorbjoern Bak Jensen, oil market analyst at Global Risk Management in Copenhagen.

These developments pushed into the background uncertainty about plans to resolve the euro zone debt crisis, which weighed on sentiment, and intensified worries about prospects for economic growth.


Investors awaited U.S. government EIA inventory data to be released at 1530 GMT, and expected to show U.S. oil inventories fell 200,000 barrels last week and imports probably held steady, a Reuters poll of analysts showed on Tuesday

Data from industry group American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday showed U.S. crude stocks rose 3.4 million barrels last week.

Distillate stocks rose 1.3 million barrels and gasoline stocks fell 173,000 barrels, while the refinery utilization rose 0.5 percentage point, the API data showed.

Developments from Iran were also in focus. Britain said on Wednesday that it had ordered the closure of OPEC's second largest oil producer, and that it had closed its own embassy in Tehran after it was stormed by protesters.

Traders were watching developments in Sudan for clues on disruptions to supply.

Sudan has not stopped South Sudan's oil exports and does not intend to, a Sudanese official said on Wednesday, two days after the acting oil minister said Sudan had halted South Sudanese government exports over a transit fee dispute.

On Monday, Sudan's acting oil minister, Ali Ahmed Osman, said his country had decided to halt South Sudan's oil exports - roughly 200,000 barrels per day - until the two sides came to an agreement.

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

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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