Oil gained for a second day after climbing the most in more than three weeks as U.S. crude output fell and stockpiles increased less than forecast.
Futures advanced as much as 2.4 percent in New York after rising 5.8 percent Wednesday, the most since Feb. 22. Production slid to the lowest level since November 2014 and inventories expanded by 1.3 million barrels, the smallest reported gain in five weeks, according to government data. Supplies were projected to increase by 3.2 million barrels. Oil producers from OPEC and outside the group are finalizing a plan to discuss freezing output at a meeting in Qatar on April 17.
“U.S. output is inching in the right direction,” Ric Spooner, a chief analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney, said by phone. “Oil has climbed from its lows, but we are starting to get into territory where the price is going to need fundamentals to catch up to push it further. The freeze probably has limited impact if it doesn’t include Iran and Iran has indicated it’s unlikely to be part of a deal.”
Oil has rebounded this year after slumping to the lowest in more than 12 years on speculation a global surplus will ease amid stronger demand and falling U.S. output. Prices also surged Wednesday after the the Bloomberg Dollar Index, which tracks the currency against major peers, fell 1.1 percent following a decision by the Federal Reserve to keep borrowing costs steady while scaling back forecasts of how high rates will go this year.
West Texas Intermediate for April delivery climbed as much as 92 cents to $39.38 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $39.21 at 8:49 a.m. Hong Kong time. The contract advanced $2.12 to $38.46 on Wednesday. Total volume traded was about 86 percent above the 100-day average.
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Brent for May settlement rose as much as 66 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $40.99 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The contract gained $1.59 to $40.33 on Wednesday. The global benchmark crude was at a 15-cent premium to WTI for May.
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