Oil gained for a third day in New York on speculation that rising U.S. payroll numbers and an easing European debt crisis will spur demand for crude.
Futures climbed as much as 0.7 percent after Greece reached its target in the biggest sovereign debt restructuring in history. The U.S. probably added 210,000 jobs in February, according to a Bloomberg survey before a report today. Oil has increased this year on concern sanctions against Iran will lead to military conflict in the Middle East, where more than half the world’s crude reserves are located.
“We have a wait-and-see for payrolls; that really is going to be the decider into the weekend,” said Ole Hansen, a senior manager of trading advisory at Saxo Bank A/S in Copenhagen. “With Greece out of the way, the tension will turn toward Portugal and Spain in the next few weeks.”
Crude for April delivery advanced as much as 74 cents to $107.32 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was at $106.85 at 12:50 a.m. in London. The contract yesterday rose 0.4 percent to $106.58, the highest settlement since March 5. Prices are up 8.2 percent this year.
Brent oil for April settlement on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange was at $125.14 a barrel, down 30 cents. The European benchmark contract was at a premium of $18.26 to New York-traded West Texas Intermediate grade. The spread settled at $18.86 yesterday, the widest since Feb. 6.
The Labor Department is forecast today to report the strongest three-month stretch of job growth in almost a year in the U.S., the world’s biggest consumer of crude. Unemployment probably held at a three-year low of 8.3 percent, according to the Bloomberg survey.
Greece said it achieved a 95.7 percent participation rate among investors after the government received approval to activate collective-action clauses. Bondholders tendered 152 billion euros of Greek-law bonds, or 85.8 percent, in exchange for new securities. The 27 member states of the European Union accounted for 16 percent of global oil demand last year, according to BP Plc (BP/)’s annual Statistical Review of World Energy.
Today is the three-year anniversary of the beginning of a global bull market for stocks that began after the U.S. housing crisis in 2008. Oil prices closed at $47.07 a barrel on March 9, 2009 in New York, capping a 39 percent rally from Dec. 19, 2008, crude’s low during the financial crisis.
OPEC Reduces Forecast
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries cut its global oil demand forecast for 2012, warning that growth risks may cut consumption as the group pumps the most in three years.
OPEC, supplier of more than 40 percent of the world’s oil, reduced its demand estimate for this year by 130,000 barrels a day to 88.63 million, according to the group’s Vienna-based secretariat. That means growth will slow to 860,000 barrels compared with 940,000 barrels previously.
The group’s 12 members produced 30.97 million barrels a day in February, or the highest since at least 2008, according to the group’s estimates based on secondary sources. That exceeds the 30 million-barrel-a-day production quota the group agreed at its December meeting. Libya, Angola and Iraq raised output, while Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iran reduced supplies.
Oil may decline in New York next week as negotiations between nuclear powers and Iran reduce tension, a Bloomberg News survey showed. Fourteen of 28 analysts and traders, or 50 percent, forecast futures will fall through March 16. Ten respondents, or 36 percent, predicted prices will rise and four estimated there will be little change.
Discussions With Iran
Nuclear powers want sustained discussions with Iran and for the Persian Gulf nation to let United Nations inspectors into its secret Parchin military installation, the UN’s five permanent Security Council members plus Germany said in a statement yesterday in Vienna.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said comments by U.S. President Barack Obama that there is room for diplomacy in the international community’s standoff with the nation are “good words,” according to Iranian state television. Obama told reporters at the White House March 7 that there is a “window of opportunity where this can still be resolved diplomatically.”
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