Oil climbed in New York, paring its biggest quarterly drop since 2008, on speculation that an expanded European bailout fund, approved by German lawmakers yesterday, will support economic growth and fuel demand.
Futures advanced as much as 1.5 per cent as Germany's lower house of parliament agreed to the extension of the European Financial Stability Facility endorsed by Chancellor Angela Merkel. The country's upper house will vote on it tomorrow. Still, a Bloomberg poll indicates investors see the euro area heading toward recession. Royal Dutch Shell continued to fight a blaze that shut a petrol and diesel unit at its oil refinery in Singapore, the largest operated by the company.
"Obviously the extension of the European Financial Stability Facility would have an impact on growth in Europe, and then other countries, and that's why the market is reacting so strongly," Christophe Barret, a London-based analyst at Credit Agricole CIB who correctly predicted last month that prices would drop and forecasts Brent will fall to $90 (Dh330.6) a barrel by the end of the year. "Fundamentals remain very weak; economic growth is worse than expected."
Crude for November delivery gained as much as $1.25 to $82.46 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $82.09 at 11.18am London time. The contract on Wednesday slid 3.8 per cent to $81.21. Futures are down 7.8 per cent this month and 10 per cent this year. Prices have dropped 14 per cent since the end of June, the biggest quarterly loss since the last three months of 2008.
Brent oil for November settlement was at $105.10 a barrel, up $1.29, on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark contract was at a premium of $22.94 to New York crude, compared with a record of $26.87 on September 6.
Oil rebounded in New York after falling as low as $79.64. Futures have technical support along the lower Bollinger Band at about $79.21 a barrel yesterday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Buy orders tend to be clustered near chart-support levels. Five-day stochastic oscillators have fallen below 30, signalling that prices have dropped too quickly.
Morgan Stanley said Brent will average $100 next year, down from a previous projection of $130, because of increasing supply and a weaker demand outlook.
Production capacity in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries will climb almost 800,000 barrels a day in 2012, led by the return of Libyan fields, Morgan Stanley analysts led by New York-based Hussain Allidina said in a report on Wednesday.
Shell blaze contained
Shell's refining complex on an island off Singapore was on fire for a second day as firefighters battled to contain the worst blaze at the site in 23 years. The fire at Pulau Bukom is contained after a "surge" yesterday at noon local time, the company said.
The Singapore Civil Defence Force is trying to prevent the blaze from spreading to storage tanks. Shell's units at Pulau Bukom have a capacity of 500,000 barrels a day. The site also houses an 800,000 tonne-a-year ethylene plant and a 155,000 tonne-a-year butadiene-extraction unit.