Brent prices for 2017 ended trading above $50 per barrel on Wednesday for the first time since mid-December following the largest and most sustained rally in prices since the oil slump started. The average for the 12 futures contracts expiring in 2017, called the calendar strip, has risen by 34 percent from its recent low of $37.45 on Jan. 20 to $50.26 on April 27 ( ). Spot prices, represented by the nearest futures contract, dominate the headlines and are of most interest to analysts and financial investors. Most hedge funds and other money managers concentrate on nearby futures contracts because they are the most liquid. Calendar strips for future quarters and years are far less prominently reported in the media and analyst commentaries. But the majority of crude producers and consumers such […]