Brent crude holds near seven-month high, eyes U.S. stocks decline

Brent crude hovered near seven-month highs on Tuesday, retaining the bulk of gains from the previous session, as market sentiment was bolstered by factors such as Nigerian oil infrastructure attacks and projections for falling U.S. crude inventories.

Brent crude for August delivery was down 3 cents at $50.52 a barrel by 0650 GMT, not far from Monday’s intraday high of $50.83, the strongest since November.

NYMEX crude for July delivery was steady at $49.69 a barrel, after settling up $1.07 on Monday.

“With Brent staying above $50, oil is on an upward momentum with the restart of French refineries that were shut on strikes and pipeline attacks in Nigeria,” said Kaname Gokon at brokerage Okato Shoji in Tokyo.

Preliminary work got underway on Monday to restart three of Total’s French oil refineries, stopped as part of nationwide strikes, which would lead to higher crude demand.

Crude futures have gained more than 85 percent from this year’s lows following supply outages in Canada, Venezuela, Libya and Nigeria.