Oil surges after lower than expected U.S. inventory rise
By Robert Gibbons
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices rallied and U.S. crude jumped nearly 6 percent to a 2015 peak on Wednesday after government data showed crude oil inventories in the United States rose less than expected last week.
Though hitting a record level for a 14th consecutive week, U.S. crude inventories rose only 1.3 million barrels to 483.69 million, the smallest build since the week ending Jan. 2, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.
That build was below expectations for a 4.1 million barrel rise in a Reuters survey of analysts.
U.S. May crude rose $3.10 to settle at $56.39 a barrel, highest of the year. The $56.69 session peak was the highest front-month crude price since Dec. 24.
The Brent and U.S. futures spread narrowed to $3.34 before closing at $3.93. It was more than $13 in early March.
Expiring front-month May Brent rose $1.89 to settle at $60.32. Brent hit its 2015 peak at $63 in February.
The more heavily traded June Brent rallied $3.51 to settle at $63.32 and pushed its premium to May Brent to $3.37 intraday.
Both Brent and U.S. crude pushed above their 100-day moving averages on Tuesday. Continued...