NEW YORK — Oil settled above $82 yesterday after driving past $83 briefly following a government report that showed US crude oil supplies didn’t grow as much as analysts expected.
Benchmark crude for April delivery rose 60 cents to settle at $82.09 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The Energy Information Administration said crude inventories grew last week by 1.4 million barrels to 343 million barrels. Analysts expected a build of 2.1 million barrels, according to a survey by Platts. The lower build raised hopes that demand might be picking up, although there’s still a lot of oil on hand.
“There was nothing inherent in the report to justify buying up to $83 per barrel,’’ said oil analyst and trader Stephen Schork.
Meanwhile, OPEC said world oil demand should grow by 900,000 barrels per day this year, an upward revision from last month’s forecast. OPEC said its forecast depends on a sustained global economic rebound, particularly in the United States.
While oil prices have risen about 17 percent since early last month, crude demand in the United States, the world’s largest consumer of oil, has remained sluggish.
Retail gas prices climbed again. The nationwide average rose 0.9 cents to $2.76 per gallon, according to AAA. Prices have risen 11.6 cents in the last month and are now 82.7 cents higher than levels of a year ago.