Benchmark crude for May delivery spiked by almost 2 dollars to US$51.2 on the Nymex, while Brent prices spiked to US$53 on the ICE Futures exchange. This sharp rise can be attributed to rising stock markets and buoyant earnings reports that suggest Americans may begin spending more.
This rise came despite recent indications that energy use is way down. As per the EIA’s weekly report, natural gas inventories held in underground storage in the lower 48 states rose by 20 billion cubic feet to about 1.67 trillion cubic feet for the week ended April 3. The government also reported that natural gas storage levels in the U.S. rose more than expected last week, indicating that people are using less energy, and companies are making fewer products. Combined with a slight rebound in exports, the US trade deficit plunged to the lowest level in more than nine years.