Oil headed for its biggest weekly gain in almost two months in New York after U.S. economic reports indicated that growth in the world’s biggest crude consumer will accelerate.
West Texas Intermediate futures have advanced 6.6 percent this week, the biggest rise since the period ended Oct. 28. U.S. initial jobless claims dropped to the lowest level since April 2008, data from the Labor Department showed yesterday. Leading indicators climbed more than forecast in November, and consumer sentiment improved this month. Oil supplies fell the most in a decade last week, the Energy Department said Dec. 21.
“We’re seeing improving data from the U.S., which I expect will be a little bit stronger next year,” said Torbjoern Kjus, an oil market analyst at DnB NOR ASA, who predicts prices will decline in the first quarter as Libya boosts output. “But Europe’s problems will escalate and more than offset this.”
Crude for February delivery was at $99.66 a barrel, up 13 cents, in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 11:24 a.m. London time. The contract yesterday rose 86 cents to $99.53, the highest settlement since Dec. 13.