Oil jumped after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. boosted a price forecast by a third and said global crude markets have probably rebalanced.
West Texas Intermediate futures added 0.8 percent in New York. Strong fuel demand, output cuts by OPEC and collapsing Venezuelan production have helped clear a glut six months earlier than anticipated, Goldman analysts Damien Courvalin and Jeff Currie said in a report, raising their six-month price expectation to $82.50 a barrel from $62.
“Venezuela pulled OPEC production significantly below target in January,” Commerzbank AG said in a note. The group is “profiting considerably from the involuntary production outages in Venezuela at present, without which the oil market would be oversupplied.”
WTI for March rose 54 cents to $65.27 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 10:37 a.m. London time, after adding 23 cents on Wednesday. Total volume traded was about 31 percent above the 100-day average. Front-month futures are still down 1.3 percent this week. Wednesday’s relatively small gain was spurred by the first draw in U.S. gasoline stockpiles since early November.
Brent for April settlement was at $69.51 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, up 46 cents. The March contract expired Wednesday after rising 3 cents to $69.05. The global benchmark crude traded at a premium of $4.43 to April WTI.
Last week, U.S. oil output surged above 10 million barrels a day for the first time in more than four decades, while nationwide stockpiles ended 10 consecutive declines, government data showed Wednesday.
The run of inventory declines -- as well as OPEC cuts and a weaker dollar -- helped send prices to a fifth month of gains in January, the longest such streak since 2011. Still, the gain was seen spurring American drillers to pump more, prompting fears that stockpiles would once again start to build. Additionally, inventory increases were on the horizon due to seasonal refinery maintenance.
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