Oil up 3 percent on weak dollar, speculative buying, Yemen

Wed Mar 25, 2015 3:11pm EDT
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By Barani Krishnan

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil settled up about 3 percent on Wednesday as a weak dollar, fighting in Yemen and speculative buying boosted crude prices in spite of U.S. inventories building to record highs for an 11th week.

The dollar .DXY fell after disappointing U.S. durable goods orders for February. A weaker dollar makes commodities denominated in the greenback cheaper for holders of other currencies, typically boosting demand for such raw materials. [USD/]

The dollar also fell against the euro EUR= after Europe's largest economy Germany reported that its business morale rose for a fifth month in a row in March, hitting the highest since July 2014. In France, business morale peaked at near three-year highs.

Fighting in Yemen raised concerns about the security of oil shipments from the Middle East. Analysts worry a proxy war might break out on the Arabian peninsula, home to the world's biggest oil fields, if the conflict draws in Saudi Arabia and rival Iran.

Oil prices retreated earlier in the day after the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that inventories rose 8.2 million barrels last week, hitting 80-year highs for an 11th straight week. Analysts had expected a build of 5.1 million barrels. [EIA/S]

But by afternoon, the market was up and running again, rallying more than $2 a barrel at one point, as speculators jumped in to try new highs.

Benchmark Brent oil LCOc1 settled up $1.37, or 2.5 percent, at $56.48 a barrel. It had gotten to $57.17 earlier.

U.S. crude, also known as West Texas Intermediate, or WTI, CLc1 finished up $1.70, or 3.6 percent, at $49.21 a barrel. The session peak was $49.46.   Continued...

The Bashneft-Novoil oil refinery is seen at sunset outside Ufa, Bashkortostan, January 29, 2015. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin