Oil rises to four-month high as investor confidence increases

Watching Equities

The Bloomberg Global Poll also showed that 53% of respondents say equities will offer the highest return in the next year. That’s a 17 percentage point jump from the last poll in November and the most since the quarterly survey of investors, analysts and traders who subscribe to Bloomberg began in July 2009.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.3%.

Republicans in the House of Representatives plan a vote tomorrow on a plan to raise the government’s borrowing limit until May 19. The Treasury Department has said the U.S. will exceed its $16.4 trillion borrowing authority sometime between mid-February and early March.

“The threat of a debt default in the next few months has been put off for at least a few months, which will be good for the markets,” Kilduff said. “The economy should do better and that will be good for oil demand.”

North Africa

Futures climbed last week as an attack on the BP Plc-operated gas field last week in Algeria led to concern that militants may carry out a similar assault on energy facilities elsewhere in the region.

Neighboring Libya, which holds Africa’s biggest crude reserves, is producing 1.1 million barrels a day, Oil Minister Abdulbari Al-Arusi said in an interview in Tripoli yesterday. That’s less than the International Energy Agency’s estimate for last month of 1.4 million barrels. The country’s daily output may rise to 2 million barrels in two years, he said.

Goldman Sachs analysts, led by Stefan Wieler in New York, said today that West Texas Intermediate oil will average $96.50 in 2014, down from an estimate of $98 on Dec. 20.

Electronic trading volume on the Nymex was 456,230 contracts as of 2:43 p.m. Volume totaled 563,464 contracts Jan. 18, 15 percent above the three-month average. Open interest was 1.49 million.

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