Oil rallies close to $50 a barrel as US crude stockpiles drop
US oil has approached $50 a barrel for the first time since July, spurring gains in emerging markets and the currencies of commodity-producing nations.
Oil headed for its longest rally in almost six months as industry data showed US crude stockpiles dropped.
"Oil is like a coiled spring - it was under excessive pressure for so long, now that's being released," said Eugen Weinberg, head of commodities research at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt. "Risk appetite is increasing across markets, which were overly bearish before."
Inventories dropped by 1.23 million barrels last week, the American Petroleum Institute was said to have reported.
The decline may have surprised traders and analysts, who predicted in a Bloomberg survey that US government data for the period would show a stockpile increase.
Prices slumped to a six-year low in August amid speculation a global glut will be prolonged.
US crude stockpiles remain about 100 million barrels above the five-year average and OPEC continues to pump above its target.
Global oil demand is projected to average 93.79 million barrels a day this year, the US Energy Inormation Administration EIA said in its monthly outlook this week. That's up from 93.62 million it forecast in September. (Bloomberg)