Oil traded near the highest level in more than a week after Israel attacked the Gaza Strip, raising concern that Middle East unrest would disrupt supply. A report showed U.S. stockpiles rose to the highest since July.
Futures were little changed in New York after advancing for the first time in three days yesterday. The air strikes killed Ahmed al-Jabari, the leader of Hamas’s military wing, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry. The Israeli army said it called up reserves for a possible infantry assault on Gaza that would be the first since 2008. U.S. crude inventories climbed 1.35 million barrels last week, data from the American Petroleum Institute showed. Government data today may show a gain of 2.65 million barrels, according to a Bloomberg News survey.
“Middle Eastern tension will skew the bias to the upside,” said Michael Poulsen, an analyst at Global Risk Management in Middelfart, Denmark. “We continue to advise consumers to take advantage of any dips in the market.”
Crude for December delivery was at $86.31 a barrel, down 1 cent, in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 10:33 a.m. London time.