Oil pushes past $92, set for seventh day of gains
CLAUDIA ASSIS and V. PHANI KUMAR, MarketWatch
SAN FRANCISCO -- Crude-oil futures pushed past $92 a barrel Thursday, well on track to score a seventh day of gains as traders considered the potential for lower supplies and reacted to Middle East strife. Crude for August delivery gained $2.69, or 3%, to $92.56/bbl on the New York Mercantile Exchange, adding to earlier gains and keeping close to session highs.
"There's a myriad of concerns about the Middle East," said Bill O'Neill, a principal with Logic Advisors in New Jersey.
The Iran premium, absent of the markets two weeks ago, has returned, and several investors caught short on oil have returned, he added.
"We are seeing a market that is focusing on geopolitical issues" rather than supply and demand dynamics, O'Neill added. "Nobody wants to be short in oil in the current circumstances."
Prices ticked higher as U.S. stocks also got a boost and following news that Germany's parliament had approved the country's participation in a rescue plan for Spanish banks.
Settlement around these levels would be the highest for crude since May 21 and the first finish above $90 since May 29. A close in the black would also match a seven-session winning run for crude in February.
August natural-gas futures rose 2 cents, or 0.7%, to $2.99 per million Btu. Futures earlier had seesawed between small gains and losses.
The Energy Information Administration reported on Thursday natural-gas inventories rose 28 bcf in the week ended July 13. Market participants expected an increase between 28 and 32 bcf for the week.