21 Aug 2008

Big decline in petrol stocks pushes oil prices up

6:38 pm on 21 August 2008

Oil prices rose on Thursday after a larger-than-expected decline in US petrol stocks but gains were likely to be limited, analysts say.

New York's main oil futures contract, light sweet crude for October delivery, rose $1.01 to $116.57 a barrel.

The September contract expired at the close in New York at $114.98 a barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for October delivery was 89 cents higher on Thursday at $115.25.

The increases followed the US Department of Energy's report that crude oil stockpiles in the United States climbed 9.4 million barrels in the week ending 15 August. Analysts had forecast a much smaller gain of 800,000 barrels.

The DoE said US gasoline, or petrol, reserves slumped 6.2m barrels last week, compared with market expectations for a drop of 2.4m barrels.

"People are looking at the gasoline inventory drawdown," says Tetsu Emori, fund manager at Astmax asset management in Tokyo.