Oil prices rose on Thursday to the highest in more than a month, extending gains on growing evidence of disruptions to crude supply from Iran and Venezuela and after a fall in U.S. crude inventories.
Brent crude oil LCOc1 was up 78 cents a barrel at $77.92 by 2:04 p.m. EDT (1804 GMT). U.S. crude CLc1 was 89 cents higher at $70.40, after earlier hitting a session high of $70.50. Both contracts were at their highest in more than one month.
A rally that started earlier in the day accelerated as U.S. crude rose above $70 a barrel, and more speculators entered the market, said Bob Yawger, director of futures at Mizuho in New York. “There are pretty good tailwinds here that will keep people jumping on board,” he said. Brent’s wide premium to WTI is likely to encourage exports of U.S. crude, keeping U.S. inventories lower and boosting activity following weekly inventory data, he said.