Commodities: Crude rises for fourth straight session



LONDON (ShareCast) - Crude oil futures rose for the fourth consecutive session on Wednesday after government data showed an unexpected decline in distillate supplies.

Crude oil for January delivery climbed $1.58 or 1.8%, to settle at $89.51 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The January contract expired at the end of the session.

The Energy Information Administration reported that US crude supplies fell by 1m barrels for the week ended December 14th, confounding expectations of a 2.3m barrel decline.

Gasoline supplies increased 2.2m barrels however distillates, but while crude and gasoline were well supplied, distillates, used in diesel and heating oil, fell 1.1m barrels, according to EIA data. Analysts had predicted gasoline stockpiles to increase 2m barrels while distillate supplies were forecast to rise 1.5m.

The surprise drop in distillate supplies comes as homes and business in the North East of the US stock up on winter supplies.

On the ICE futures exchange Brent crude for February delivery rose $1.56 to settle at $110.40 a barrel.

Among precious metals gold prices settled lower again on Wednesday as focus remained on political disagreement on the US fiscal cliff.

Gold (Other OTC: GDCWF - news) for February delivery fell $3 to settle at $1,667.70 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.