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Thu 7 Jun 2012 09:17 AM

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Brent above US$100 on Fed stimulus hopes, euro zone optimism

Brent crude gained 32 cents US$100.96 a barrel by 0253 GMT, after rising to as much as US$101.18

Brent above US$100 on Fed stimulus hopes, euro zone optimism
Brent crude gained 32 cents US$100.96 a barrel by 0253 GMT.

Brent crude rose on Thursday, holding above US$100 per barrel on expectations the US will introduce measures to boost its economy and European policymakers may rescue ailing Spanish banks - both reviving hopes oil demand growth would recover.

Optimism that central banks from the United States to Europe may announce measures to prevent their economies from deteriorating further boosted broader markets, from Asian shares to base metals. Most assets are recovering a plunge triggered by a series of weak numbers from China to the United States.

Brent crude gained 32 cents US$100.96 a barrel by 0253 GMT, after rising to as much as US$101.18 earlier in the session and settling US$1.80 a barrel higher on Wednesday. US increased 44 cents to US$85.46, gaining for a fourth straight day.

"There are expectations of further monetary easing from the US and that is making people come back," said Tetsu Emori, a Tokyo-based commodities fund manager at Astmax Investments. "There are many, many factors still out there. There is Greece, there is Europe. All this will keep oil very choppy for the time being."

A crucial support for US crude is US$85 a barrel and IS$100 for Brent, Emori said.

Brent fell below US$100 for the first time since October on Friday, and prices are down more than 20 percent from its 2012 high of US$128.40 posted in March.

US crude has recovered from US$81.21 touched on Monday, the lowest intraday price since October 6. The contract is about 23 percent below its 2012 high of US$110.55, also struck in March.

Two influential Federal Reserve officials said they were prepared to take even more policy action to boost the erratic US economic recovery, and pointed to Europe's worsening debt crisis as the biggest threat to the world's biggest economy.

Across the Atlantic, Germany and European Union officials were urgently exploring ways to rescue Spain's debt-stricken banks. Spain, the euro zone's fourth biggest economy, said it was effectively losing access to credit markets due to prohibitive borrowing costs and appealed to European partners to help revive its banks.

Gains in oil were, however, capped by a smaller-than-expected drawdown in US crude stockpiles last week after 10 straight weeks of stock builds.

US crude inventories fell 111,000 barrels, less than the 500,000-barrel drawdown forecast in a Reuters poll, the Energy Information Administration said. Crude stocks at the U.S. delivery point in Cushing, Oklahoma, rose to a record.

Brent is poised to retrace to US$97.68 per barrel as a rebound from the June 4 low is approaching an end, while a rebound in US crude from US$81.21 is over and the contract is expected to retrace to US$83.31 per barrel, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.