Oil Rises Above $96 on US Supplies, Weaker Dollar


Oil climbed to its highest price in more than a month on Wednesday, after the government reported U.S. crude supplies increased less than analysts expected.

In New York, benchmark crude for June delivery rose $1 to finish at $96.62 a barrel. It hadn’t settled that high since April 2.

The Energy Department said oil supplies grew last week by 200,000 barrels to 395.5 million barrels, which is 4.2 percent above year-ago levels. Analysts were expecting an increase of 1.9 million barrels in the week ended May 3.

Lower imports of crude and busier refineries explain the smaller-than-expected increase. Refineries operated at 87 percent of capacity last week, up 2.6 percentage points from the week before. Still, demand for gasoline fell 2.4 percent over the past four weeks, and demand for distillates, such as heating oil and diesel, also fell.

Oil also got a boost as the dollar weakened against the euro. Oil is traded in dollars, so it becomes more attractive to investors with foreign currency as the dollar retreats.

The price of gasoline was up at the pump, with the national average at $3.54 a gallon. That’s a penny higher than on Tuesday, but about 25 cents lower than a year ago.

Brent crude, which is the benchmark for international oil varieties, was down 6 cents to end at $104.34 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline rose 2 cents to finish at $2.85 a gallon.

— Heating oil fell 1 cent to end at $2.91 a gallon.

— Natural gas added 6 cents to finish at $3.98 per 1,000 cubic feet.