oil

Oil prices jumped today, after falling for six consecutive days; however, concerns related to higher crude output in the US and lower global demand put a cap on prices.

Brent crude rose by 72 cents to $99.85 a barrel, while US crude increased by 75 cents to reach $88.48, reported Reuters.

Brent hit its lowest level since July, while US futures slipped to a 2013 low, after a data showed that China’s economic growth slowed in the first three months of 2013, sparking a sell-off this week.

In the US, the number of people filing new claims for unemployment benefits increased last week, while factory activity in the country’s Mid-Atlantic region contracted in April, indicating a moderation in economic growth.

The American Petroleum Institute said that US oil demand increased in March, but was still at the second-lowest level for the month in 16 years.

"Brent hit its lowest level since July, while US futures slipped to a 2013 low."

In March, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said oil production by the country will exceed the amount of crude it imports for the first time since 1995 by the end of 2013.

After oil fell to less than $100, major oil producing nations such as Iran and Venezuela have said The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) could hold an emergency meeting, even though the group scheduled to meet at the end of May.

Oil prices have received some support from supply disruptions, especially in Africa.

In Nigeria, rampant oil theft has impelled Shell to shutdown a 150,000 barrel per day pipeline on Monday for six weeks.


Image: The American Petroleum Institute said that oil demand in US increased in March. Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos / dan.

Energy