Mark Shenk reports:
Crude oil rose 14 percent, trimming a record annual decline, after a government report showed a smaller-than-expected gain in U.S. fuel supplies.
Stockpiles of gasoline and distillate fuel, a category that includes heating oil and diesel, climbed in the week ended Dec. 26, the Energy Department report showed. Prices have tumbled 70 percent from a record $147.27 on July 11 as the U.S., Japan and Germany faced their first simultaneous recessions in six decades.
“We are very near the bottom in oil prices, or will reach the bottom in the next few weeks,” said Ehsan Ul-Haq, head of research at Vienna-based JBC Energy GmbH, an oil broker and consultant. Prices will be subdued “as long as stockpiles remain very high,” he said.
Crude oil for February delivery rose $5.57 to $44.60 a barrel at 2:55 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest settlement since Dec. 12. Futures are down 54 percent this year, the first annual decline since 2001 when oil fell 26 percent, and the biggest drop since trading began in 1983.
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