Friday, October 9, 2015

Crude oil futures rise after bullish forecast, Fed minutes

Crude oil futures rose in early Asian trade on thin volumes after an influential forecaster predicted that a market rally was not far off and U.S. Federal Reserve minutes suggested there was no hurry to raise rates.

The gains added to a surge in prices on Thursday, with Brent crude, the global benchmark, on track for a near 11 per cent gain this week, the biggest weekly rise since early 2009.

Brent was up 20 cents at $53.25 a barrel at 0059 GMT. The contract rose $1.72 to close at $53.05 a barrel on Thursday.

U.S. crude was 12 cents higher at $49.55 a barrel, after rising 3.4 per cent to close at $49.43 a barrel.

U.S. crude is heading for a gain of nearly 9 per cent this week, the biggest weekly increase since August.

PIRA Energy Group, a closely watched forecaster that predicted the slump in oil prices a year ago, said on Thursday it expects crude prices to rise to $70 per barrel by the end of 2016 and $75 a barrel in 2017.

Also supporting prices was the release of the Fed minutes, which showed that policymakers are concerned that the global economic slowdown may affect the outlook for the U.S.

This led investors to further pare bets that the Fed is likely to raise rates later rather than sooner.

Gains in Chinese equities on Thursday, opening after a week long National Day holiday, added to the bullish tone, while Russia's military involvement in Syria has brought a geopolitical risk premium into the market.

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