Oil jumps on weak dollar, industry cuts in jobs, spending

Thu Feb 12, 2015 3:30pm EST
 
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By Robert Gibbons

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices rallied sharply on Thursday after two days of losses as news of deeper industry spending cuts and a sinking U.S. dollar revived buying.

U.S. crude closed above $51 a barrel, shaking off a morning dip tied to data showing a potentially record rise in stockpiles at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub.

Its discount versus Brent crude expanded to around $6.84 a barrel CL-LCO1=R intraday, the widest in five months, as U.S. oil tanks swelled.

French energy major Total (TOTF.PA: Quote) on Thursday became the latest to announce investment and job cuts following a near-halving of oil prices since June. The chief executive of Shell warned that supply might not be able to keep up with growing demand as companies slash budgets.

"Shell's CEO had a more bullish take on supply and demand and the weaker dollar also helped support crude," said Phil Flynn, analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.

Expiring March Brent futures LCOc1 rose $2.39, or 4.37 percent to settle at $57.05 a barrel following a 3 percent loss on Wednesday.

Gains were fueled in part by the weaker U.S. dollar, with the dollar index .DXY falling nearly 1 percent after reports showing U.S. retail sales fell 0.8 percent last month and weekly jobless claims rose above 300,000. [FRX/]

U.S. March crude futures CLc1 rose $2.37 or 4.85 percent to settle at $51.21. Trading volume across the curve topped 1 million contracts for the ninth consecutive day, a third higher than the January average as bulls and bears battle over direction.   Continued...

 
A pump jack is seen at sunrise near Bakersfield, California October 14, 2014.  REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson