Inventories of crude oil continued to build in April but at a slower rate, causing optimism among traders and sending crude prices to their highest levels since November.
Analysts said production declines and high demand for gasoline are expected to start putting a dent in U.S. supplies that in April hit their highest levels since 1929. But they said an improvement to the $45-a-barrel level is not enough to entice most producers to put idled rigs back to work. The number of working rigs in the United States fell in April to its lowest count since the shale revolution started in 2009. The drop in working rigs continues to cause worker layoffs.