Monday, May 9, 2011

Oil Declines From Three-Day High in New York as Investors Lock In Profits

By Ben Sharples -

Oil declined in New York, slipping from a three-day high, as investors sold contracts to profit from yesterday’s price surge, the biggest since February.

Futures dropped as much as 1.9 percent before a report today from China’s custom bureau that may show export growth in the world’s largest energy user slowed last month, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Oil climbed yesterday after the biggest weekly decline since December 2008. An Energy Department report tomorrow may show U.S. crude inventories increased for a third week.

“It’s just profit taking,” said Jonathan Barratt, managing director of Commodity Broking Services Pty in Sydney, who predicted oil will average $100 this year. “It’s a technical bounce from that huge move we had the other day. Expect the volatility to continue. It’s across the board with the other commodities.”

Crude for June delivery slid as much as $1.93 to $100.62 a barrel, in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, and was at $100.78 at 9 a.m. Singapore time. The contract rose $5.37 to $102.55 yesterday, the biggest gain since Feb. 22. Prices are up 31 percent the past year.

Brent crude for June settlement lost $1.64, or 1.4 percent, to $114.26 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Yesterday, it increased $6.77, or 6.2 percent, to $115.90.

Brent Premium
The European benchmark traded at a premium of $13.35 a barrel to U.S. futures yesterday. The difference between front- month contracts in London and New York surged to a record $19.54 on Feb. 21. It averaged 76 cents last year.

An Energy Department report tomorrow may show crude supplies increased 1.5 million barrels from 366.5 million, according to the median of 11 estimates from analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. Gasoline inventories may decline 750,000 barrels, the survey shows.

China’s export growth may have slowed to 29.5 percent last month from 35.8 percent in March, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of 29 economists.

Oil in New York has climbed 11 percent this year as unrest in the Middle East and North Africa toppled leaders in Tunisia and Egypt and spread to Libya, Algeria, Bahrain, Iran, Oman and Yemen. Security forces in Syria renewed their assault on pro- democracy protesters across the country, shooting at people who joined in demonstrations and seeking to arrest their organizers.

Futures rose yesterday after a report showed German exports surged to a record in March. Exports, adjusted for work days and seasonal changes, jumped 7.3 percent from February, when they gained 2.8 percent, the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden said. Economists had forecast a 1.1 percent increase.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Sharples in Melbourne at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alexander Kwiatkowski in Singapore at

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