Oil in New York headed for the largest weekly gain in more than two months as U.S. inventories declined and the number of drilling rigs fell.
Futures are up 8.8 percent this week, the biggest advance since Oct. 9. Stockpiles slid 5.88 million barrels last week, the biggest loss since June, government data showed. A 1.2 million-barrel gain was projected in a Bloomberg survey. Gulf Coast refiners typically curb deliveries at the end of the year to reduce local taxes. The number of active oil rigs in the U.S. fell by 3 to 538 this week, according to Baker Hughes Inc.
The global oversupply that sent West Texas Intermediate toward its second yearly decline shows no signs of easing since the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries effectively abandoned output limits earlier this month. Brent, the benchmark for more than half the world’s oil, is poised to end 2015 with the lowest annual average price in 11 years, putting pressure on oil-exporting countries and companies.
WTI for February delivery increased as much as 40 cents to $37.90 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was trading at $37.78 at 10:28 a.m. in Seoul. Prices gained $1.36, or 3.8 percent, to $37.50 a barrel on Wednesday, the highest close for a front-month contract since Dec. 8. Prices have decreased 29 percent this year. The volume of all futures trading was about 82 percent below the 100-day average.