The gains made in the prior two days have taken the Brent well above the $50.00 per barrel mark, and lifted the WTI within touching distance of that level as well. Analysts attribute the recent rally to supply disruptions in Libya after the shutdown of pipelines from its biggest oil field.
Also supporting prices was a decline in U.S. gasoline inventories, which points to a tightening market despite record stocks of crude. U.S. gasoline inventories fell 3.7 million barrels in the week ended March 24, easily topping expectations of a 1.9 million barrel decrease, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said Wednesday. Crude stockpiles, however, rose 867,000 barrels to a record 534.0 million barrels. Brent June futures are up in early trade at $52.60, just below the strong resistance at $52.70 per barrel.