Oil up 1 percent after swing on mixed data; U.S. crude at Nov highs

Thu May 12, 2016 3:23pm EDT
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By Barani Krishnan

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices rose 1 percent in volatile trade on Thursday, with U.S. crude hitting six-month highs as investors weighed a forecast for tighter global supplies against signs of another storage build at the hub for U.S. crude futures.

Worries of a major outage in Nigerian crude also boosted the market, some traders said.

"It was a mixed bag, with both longs and shorts trying to defend positions based on the data that appealed most to them. The bulls prevailed," said Phil Flynn, analyst at the Price Futures Group in Chicago.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 settled up 48 cents at $48.08 per barrel.

U.S. crude's West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures CLc1 rose 47 cents to settle at $46.70. It hit a six-month high of $47.02.

With that, Brent was on track for a weekly rise of 6 percent and WTI 4 percent, continuing a broad uptrend that has added about $20 to a barrel from lows in January and February.

WTI could advance to almost $51 in the near-term "on pure technical merits", said Jim Ritterbusch of Chicago-based oil markets consultancy Ritterbusch & Associates.

"But from a longer-term perspective, we still see this market setting up for a hard fall next month" from a potential dollar rally or weak Chinese economic data, he added.   Continued...

A natural gas flare on an oil well pad burns as the sun sets outside Watford City, North Dakota January 21, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Cullen