NEW YORK, July 14 (UPI) -- Crude oil prices continued a stretch of high volatility Thursday, moving up nearly 2 percent in early trading on signs of British economic optimism.
Oil prices moved in wide swings this week as markets reacted to data on inventory levels, a reflection of demand, and modestly upbeat assessments from the International Monetary Fund on the U.S. economy, seen as something of a safe haven in the midst of European concerns about the fallout from the Brexit vote.
The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee said Thursday it was holding its key rate steady at 0.5 percent, with only one of the nine members voting for a cut. While recognizing the global market's reaction to the British vote to leave the European Union, the bank said there was room to maneuver in the future.
"In the absence of a further worsening in the trade-off between supporting growth and returning inflation to target on a sustainable basis, most members of the committee expect monetary policy to be loosened in August," the policy committee said.
The committee added that it was committed to taking "whatever action is needed" to keep inflation in check and support growth.
Crude oil prices, which suffered major losses in Wednesday trading, recovered some lost ground early Thursday. The price for Brent crude oil moved up 2.3 percent to open in New York at $47.36 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark price, gained 1.4 percent to start the trading day at $45.39 per barrel.
Forward momentum could be stymied on the potential return of the supply-side pressures that helped drag oil prices down from $100 per barrel in 2014. Consultant firm Wood Mackenzie this week found energy companies have improved their efficiency to the point that millions of new barrels of oil could be uncorked as drilling becomes economical at a price point below $60 per barrel.
The International Energy Agency reported Wednesday global crude oil supplies recovered to 96 million barrels after outages, largely in Canada, eased. Global commercial inventories, meanwhile, ended May at a record high.