BANGKOK – Oil prices rose above $93 per barrel Monday amid hopes that the European Central Bank, meeting later this week, would act to shore up economic growth.
Benchmark crude for June delivery was up 38 cents to $93.38 a barrel at midafternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 64 cents to close at $93 in New York on Friday after the U.S. government released economic growth figures that disappointed markets.
Growth accelerated to an annual rate of 2.5 per cent from January through March from an anemic pace in the previous quarter. Markets were expecting growth of 3 per cent or better.
The disappointing growth figure for the economy has reinforced expectations that Federal Reserve policymakers will stick with their easy money policies when they meet Wednesday in Washington. Analysts believe the European Central Bank will head in the same direction when it meets Thursday.
Michael Hewson of CMC Markets said in an email that “there is increasing speculation that the ECB could well cut interest rates this week.”
Brent crude, which is used to price oil from the North Sea used by many U.S. refiners, dropped 7 cents to $103.09 on the ICE futures exchange in London.
In other energy futures trading on Nymex:
— Wholesale gasoline was down 1.7 cents at $2.811 a gallon.
— Heating oil fell 1.3 cents to $2.853 a gallon.
— Natural gas added 3.6 cents to $4.259.