May 11, 2016 4:45 pm

Oil prices surge to highest level so far this year

The price of oil has hit its highest point yet for 2016.

AP Photo/Hasan Jamali

TORONTO – Crude climbed to its highest level so far this year as investors digested a surprising report on oil stockpiles in the U.S.

The June contract for benchmark North American oil surged $1.57 to US$46.23 a barrel as the U.S. reported crude stockpiles declined by 3.4 million barrels last week. Analysts had been expecting an increase.

READ MORE: Should Canadians be cheering for lower or higher oil prices?

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The gain in oil helped lift energy companies on the S&P/TSX index, but the Toronto stock market ended the day little changed, up 13.02 points at 13,788.21.

Meanwhile, the oil-sensitive Canadian dollar was solidly ahead, rising 0.39 of a U.S. cent to 77.81 cents US.

Elsewhere in commodities, June gold rose $10.70 to US$1,275.50 a troy ounce while June natural gas was up two cents at US$2.17 per mmBtu. July copper added a penny to US$2.10 a pound.

READ MORE: Hard-hit Alberta and Atlantic Canada pessimistic about economy: Ipsos poll

In New York, retail stocks weighed on the markets as the Dow Jones industrial average plunged 217.23 points at 17,711.12. The broader S&P 500 composite index declined 19.93 points to 2,064.46 while the Nasdaq composite fell 49.19 points to 4,760.69.

© 2016 The Canadian Press

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