In Europe, a composite index based on a survey of purchasing managers in the services and manufacturing industries held at 46.5 this month, London-based Markit said. A reading below 50 indicates contraction.
“We’ve got some disappointing manufacturing data out of both China and Europe and the market is under pressure,” said Gene McGillian, an analyst and broker at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. “The market is moving back and forth based on changing economic perceptions.”
The European Union and China combined used 27 percent of the world’s oil in 2011, according to BP Plc’s Statistical Review of World Energy. The U.S. consumed 21 percent.
U.S. oil inventories probably rose to the highest level in more than 22 years last week, according to a Bloomberg survey before an Energy Information Administration report tomorrow.
Stockpiles probably grew by 2 million barrels to 389.6 million last week, the highest level since July 1990, according to the median estimate of 11 analysts in the survey. The EIA, the Energy Department’s statistical arm, is scheduled to release the weekly report at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow in Washington.
The American Petroleum Institute is set to publish separate supply data today. The industry group collects stockpile information on a voluntary basis from operators of refineries, bulk terminals and pipelines. The government requires that reports be filed with the EIA for its weekly survey.
WTI dropped to $88.29 at 1:10 p.m. from $88.87 less than a minute earlier as U.S. equities erased gains following a post on Twitter from the Associated Press saying that there had been explosions at the White House. The AP said its Twitter account had been hacked and there was no explosion. The contract rebounded to $89.14 at 1:13 p.m.
“Oil went straight down with stocks on rumors that there was a bomb at the White House,” said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at the Price Futures Group in Chicago.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained as much as 1.1 percent to 1,579.58, the strongest intraday level since April 15. The index closed at a record high of 1,593.37 on April 11. The benchmark equity gauge briefly dipped as low as 1,563 following the Twitter post.
Sales of single-family properties climbed 1.5 percent last month in the U.S. to a 417,000 annual pace, the Commerce Department reported today in Washington. The median estimate of 76 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for March sales to rise to 416,000.
Implied volatility for at-the-money WTI options expiring in June was 22.9 percent, compared with yesterday’s 23.9 percent.
Electronic trading volume on the Nymex was 566,312 contracts as of 3:45 p.m. It totaled 447,940 contracts yesterday, 24 percent below the three-month average. Open interest was 1.73 million contracts.
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