Oil Prices Rising Again, Jump to New High for the Year


oil-rigOil prices hit a new high for the year today ahead of a U.S. government report on the levels of crude in storage that have neared 19-year highs recently. Benchmark crude for June delivery rose $1.42 cents to $55.26 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, levels not seen since November. Weekly inventory data from the Energy Information Administration is due today, but an overnight report from the American Petroleum Institute showed a 1-million-barrel slip in crude oil stocks and a 2.9-million-barrel drop in gas supplies.”A sign that demand is improving perhaps? Or maybe those refiners are still indifferent to increasing supply,” Phil Flynn, an analyst at Alaron Trading Corp., wrote in a morning note. “It was probably a little of both.”

Analysts expect the EIA to report a build of 2.2 million barrels of oil for the week ended May 1, according to a survey by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

Crude stocks rose 4.1 million barrels last week and are at “the highest level of inventory since the month following Saddam’s August 1990 invasion of Kuwait,” analyst and trader Stephen Schork wrote in his daily report.

On Tuesday, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke gave his most optimistic prediction yet about the end of the U.S. recession, saying he expects the economy to start growing again this year.

Bernanke cited firmer home sales, a revival in consumer spending and some improvement in lending conditions for banks, businesses and individual borrowers.

U.S. bank stress test results set for release on Thursday and April unemployment figures due out Friday should provide more insight into the state of the economy and the odds that energy prices will increase.

Oil has traded near $50 a barrel for more than a month after dropping from a record $147 last July and rising from below $35 in February.

{AP Energy/Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter}