Crude oil for May delivery rose 45 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $94.16 a barrel at 12:14 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures touched $95.65, the highest level since February 20. The volume of all futures traded was 54 percent above the 100-day average for the time of day.
Bloomberg report yesterday showed that Brent oil for May settlement decreased 12 cents to $107.54 a barrel. The volume of all futures traded was 2.9 percent below the 100-day average. The European benchmark crude’s premium to WTI narrowed to as little as $12.88, the least since July 5.
Futures climbed as much as 2.1 percent after Cyprus accepted the outlines of an aid package from the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund. The difference between WTI and Brent futures slipped last week as U.S. refinery demand and North Sea production increased. Iraq will fail to achieve output targets in 2014, the chairman of the country’s oil and energy committee said.
“We’re not just up on the Cyprus news, there’s also a massive unwinding of the WTI-Brent spread,” said Stephen Schork, president of the Schork Group Inc. in Villanova, Pennsylvania. “Demand at refineries here is rising from its seasonal nadir and there’s plenty of supply in the North Sea.”
West Texas Intermediate crude surged to a one-month high as Cyprus agreed with creditors on a bailout, reducing concern that Europe’s debt crisis will deepen.