Brent slides, U.S. crude holds flat on resilient dollar

Tue Mar 24, 2015 5:13pm EDT
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By Sam N. Adams

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Brent crude oil fell on Tuesday as the dollar regained its footing against the euro and fears of global oversupply persisted, while U.S. crude was buoyed by strong domestic economic data.

The fall in Brent came after the dollar reversed early losses to rise 0.24 percent against the euro EUR=, making dollar-priced commodities more expensive in the euro zone.

Brent futures for May delivery LCOc1 settled at $55.11 per barrel, down 81 cents. U.S. crude oil rose 6 cents to settle at $47.51 CLc1.

The U.S. Commerce Department announced that new home sales jumped 7.8 percent to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 539,000 units last month, the highest since February 2008. Financial information services firm Markit said its U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index rose to its highest since October.

"Today it seems as if the market's been catching its breath after reaching its six-year lows last week," Tradition Energy senior analyst Gene McGillian said. "The positive economic reports have helped."

U.S. crude stocks, already at their highest in at least 80 years, were forecast to have risen for an 11th record-breaking week, an expanded Reuters survey showed Tuesday.

An analyst survey ahead of weekly inventory reports from industry and government yielded a forecast for a crude stock build of 5.1 million barrels last week. [EIA/S]

In the week to March 13, U.S. crude stocks rose nearly three times as much as expected, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration data.   Continued...

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