NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil climbed Thursday to a nine-month high, with traders optimistic about progress towards a fiscal stimulus deal in the United States and record refining demand in China and India.
U.S. lawmakers moved closer to agreeing on a $ 900 billion virus-fighting spending program on Wednesday.
The US dollar set a 2-1 / 2-year low against its main rivals on Thursday. With the price of crude being expressed in greenbacks, this has made oil cheaper for buyers holding other currencies.
Brent futures settled at 42 cents at $ 51.50 a barrel and hit a session high of $ 51.90.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 54 cents to $ 48.36 a barrel, with a session high of $ 48.59. Both benchmarks hit their highest level since early March.
“Asia was ahead of the curve in Coronavirus recovery mode,” said Phil Flynn, senior analyst at Price Futures in Chicago. “Looking at what we’re seeing in Asia, the new year is expected to rapidly increase demand for crude oil as the vaccine rolls out in the United States,” he said.
The United States on Thursday expanded its campaign to provide COVID-19 vaccines.
U.S. crude inventories fell 3.1 million barrels in the week to Dec.11, Energy Information Administration said, far more than analysts’ forecast of a 1.9 million barrel drop .
“It looks like a much better holiday season than most bullish traders might expect. But whether oil prices can stay this high and sustain those gains is still questionable amid the destructive demand lockdowns causing, ”said Bjornar Tonhaugen of Rystad Energy.
Reporting by Jessica Jaganathan and Dmitry Zhdannikov; Editing by Tom Hogue, Susan Fenton, Elaine Hardcastle and David Gregorio