Brent Nears $110 With Mixed Stockpile Data
Brent crude oil approached $110 on Thursday morning after more data from the US painted a healthy picture of the number one oil consumer’s economy.
The commodity traded at $109.89 at 6:30 GMT as investors kept an eye on tension brewing in both Ukraine and Libya amid the improving demand outlook.
Reuters reported that the American Petroleum Institute released data showing that US crude stockpiles in Cushing, Oklahoma fell by 1.5 million barrels last week. The drop helped take some of the focus off of data which showed that overall inventories grew by 3.5 million barrels, compared to expectations of a 483,000 barrel rise.
Moving forward investors will be focused on the Energy Information Administration’s version of the same report, due out later on Thursday, for confirmation.
The situation in Libya is also keeping prices supported as the nation’s acting Prime Minister Abdullah Al-Thinni has refused to accept a newly elected premier.
Al-Thinni is refusing to hand over the reins, saying he questions the new leader’s legitimacy. Libya’s oil exports have been depressed for almost a year as the nation’s government struggles to unite.
Also helping drive Brent prices is the situation in Ukraine, where the largest battle since pro-Russian separatists began their campaign took place early this week.
After separatist rebels overtook an airport in the Donetsk region over the weekend, the Ukrainian government launched an airstrike in an attempt to take back the eastern part of the country.
On Wednesday, rebel leader Denis Pushilin reached out to Moscow for assistance. Although Russian President Vladimir Putin has agreed to recognize Ukraine’s latest presidential election, he declared his right to assist those who speak out for Russia when the crisis began.
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