By Andrew Osborn LONDON (Reuters) - A late burst of opinion polls suggested on Wednesday that Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour challenger Ed Miliband had fought each other to a standstill on the eve of Britain's most unpredictable election in a generation. The stakes are high because of a rare confluence of factors which mean Britain's future in the European Union, as well as its national cohesion, could hinge on the result. "We can achieve an overall majority that gives Britain the strong stable government that continues, with a long-term economic plan that is working," Cameron said. Or if I'm prime minister, I'll put working people first." Five years ago, Britain got its first coalition government since World War Two when Cameron fell short of an overall majority and struck a deal with the centrist Liberal Democrats to govern together to steady the economy.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery in June rallied to a five-month pinnacle at $62.58 per barrel. American crude reserves tumbled by 3.9 million barrels in the week to May 1, the US government's Department of Energy announced in a report. "An unexpected fall in US oil inventories saw WTI extend the gains," said IG analyst Joshua Mahony. "This will be music to the ears of those at OPEC whose goal it is to price US producers out of the market.
While oil futures prices rebound with vigor as analysts cite strong demand, the physical crude market tells a much more cautionary tale. Tens of millions of barrels are struggling to find buyers in Europe with traders of West African, Azeri and North Sea crude blaming poor demand. The deep disconnect between the oil futures and physical markets looks similar to the events of June 2014 when the physical market weakness became a precursor for a futures price crash.