Brent crude rose a fifth straight session Monday as equities rallied on a rise in consumer spending, strong financials and relief that damage from Hurricane Irene was less severe than expected.
U.S. consumer spending rose at its fastest pace in five months in July, a Commerce Department report said, helping Wall Street equities gain more than 2 percent.
"The spending data helped Wall Street take off, and oil rose on the hope some of that spending will be on gasoline," said Phil Flynn, analyst at PFGBest Research in Chicago.
Global equities advanced ahead of Wall Street's open on hopes the Federal Reserve might eventually launch a third round of quantitative easing (QE3) after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke left the door open for further action in a speech on Friday at an annual event in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
U.S. gasoline futures fell and heating oil futures only nudged higher after East Coast refineries did not experience catastrophic damage like facilities on the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina.
"Storm premium that was injected into the (gasoline) futures ... appeared to be extracted today as the hurricane failed to significantly impede refinery activity, pipeline movement or distribution," Jim Ritterbusch, president at Ritterbusch & Associates, said in a note.
Widespread flooding and power outages were also expected to dampen fuel demand after Irene.
Trading volumes were thinner due to a public holiday in the U.K. and New York-area traders out in the aftermath of the storm. Brent volume trailed the 30-day average by 62 percent and U.S. crude by 48 percent.
Brent October crude rose 52 cents to settle at $111.88 a barrel, after reaching $112.73, highest intraday price since Aug. 4.
U.S. October crude, up a third straight session, rose $1.90, or 2.23 percent, to settle at $87.27 a barrel, having reached $87.62, highest intraday price since Aug. 17.
Brent's premium to U.S. crude fell below $25 a barrel, well off its record $26.69 on Aug. 19.
REFINERS ASSESS IRENE'S IMPACT
The U.S. East Coast oil industry began to assess the impact of Hurricane Irene's weekend brush with the coast.
A crude unit at the Girard Point section of Sunoco Inc's Philadelphia refinery shut because of flooded crude-charge pumps, lowering some production. Meanwhile, the Marcus Hook section of the refinery was increasing rates.
ConocoPhillips Inc's 238,000-barrels-per-day Bayway refinery in Linden, New Jersey, was restarting, a source familiar with refinery operations said.
Ahead of weekly inventory reports, U.S. crude oil and distillate stocks were estimated to have risen last week, according to a Reuters survey of analysts on Monday.
Gasoline inventories were expected to be lower.
LIBYA, SYRIA TURMOIL
Libya's new government plans to restart production at two eastern oil fields in mid-September and resume shipping oil by September's end.
Ras Lanuf, Libya's largest oil refinery, is intact and staff are preparing a restart.
Libya produced about 1.6 million bpd of crude oil before the civil war.
In Syria, an armored force surrounded a town near the city of Homs and fired heavy machine guns after the defection of soldiers in the area.
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