Buyers Back in the Oil Pit

Buyers Back in the Oil Pit

Oil prices soared more than $4 a barrel as lower-than-expected fuel inventories and another dollar drop brought buyers out in force for the first time in a week.

Light, sweet crude for May delivery rose $4.68 to settle at $105.90 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) said gasoline and distillate supplies — including heating oil and diesel fuel — dropped much more than forecast last week, while crude-oil inventories were unchanged. Analysts surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires expected crude supplies to rise by 1.7 million barrels.

April heating-oil futures jumped 11.9 cents to settle at $3.0438 a gallon, and gasoline futures gained 6.27 cents to settle at $2.7429 a gallon. April natural-gas futures rose 15.3 cents to settle at $9.572 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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