Michael Galvis: Oil Price Jump 14%

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Oil prices rose more than 14% Thursday after the government reported that the nation’s supplies of crude fell last week for the first time in two months.

Light, sweet crude for March delivery rose $4.86, or 14% to settle at $39.48 a barrel. That marks the biggest one-day jump since Dec. 31 when oil rallied $5.57 a barrel or 14.27%.

The April contract, which becomes the front-month contract when March expires Friday, rose $2.24, or 6%, to $39.64 a barrel.

Crude prices often spike in sessions leading up to the expiration of a contract, as traders not wishing to take delivery of physical oil roll their investments over into the next contract.

In its weekly inventory report, the Energy Information Administration said the nation’s supplies of crude oil fell 200,000 barrels in the week ended Feb. 13. It was the first decline since the week ended Dec. 19, when oil inventories shrank by 3.1 million barrels.

Analysts were expecting oil supplies to have grown by 3.5 million barrels, according to a survey by research firm Platts.

The decline in crude stocks comes amid an uptick in refinery utilization and a drop in oil imports.

Refineries consumed an average of 14.1 million barrels a day during the week, up 16,000 a day from the prior week. Oil imports fell by an average 859,000 barrels a day from the previous week.

The decline in imports could reflect recent production cuts by members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, according to Tom Pawlicki, an energy analyst at MF Global in Chicago.

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