Grades were steady to firmer in the U.S. domestic cash crude market early yesterday supported by a strength in crude futures, traders said.

An industry report showed a steeper draw of 2.4 million barrels. WTI postings plus, which moves in tandem with crude futures, was talked 10 cents higher at $3.54/$3.60. Deepwater sour Mars traded 15 cents firmer from Wednesday at $2.25 under benchmark WTI/Cushing.

Benchmark WTI/Cushing was valued at $26.77/26.84 a barrel. Deepwater Poseidon was talked 15 cents firmer at $1.90/1.70 under benchmark WTI/ Cushing. Eugene Island was talked steady at $1.30/1.00 under the benchmark. Bonito was valued 25 cents firmer at 75/50 cents under WTI/ Cushing.

Main domestic sour West Texas Sour/Midland traded at $1.55 and $1.45 under the benchmark, in range with previous day values.

Main domestic sweet Light Louisiana Sweet/St. James traded 5 cents firmer at minus 10 and minus 20 cents under the WTI/Cushing to talk last at minus 10 to flat.

Heavy Louisiana Sweet/Empire traded 5 cents firmer at 70 cents below the benchmark. WTI/Midland was talked steady at 32/29 cents below WTI/Cushing.

Meanwhile, Nymex crude futures jumped more than a dollar in early afernoon trade yesterday, extending sharp gains for a second day in a row in a gasoline-led rally.

At 13:02 EDT (1745 GMT), Nymex June crude traded $0.97 higher at $27.20 a barrel, just beneath the market session high of $27.27, the highest in 12 sessions.

Nymex June gasoline jumped 3.14 cents to 81.10 cents a gallon, just below its session high of 81.90 cents. Nymex June heating oil futures were up 2.62 cents at 71.55 cents a gallon, gaining on crude's strength.

In London, IPE Brent crude oil futures jumped yesterday, with gains in New York leading the rally after an explosion on a U.S. warship in the northern Arabian Sea, traders said.

By 1650 GMT, front-month June Brent futures were 66 cents higher at $24.77 a barrel, rallying from a session low of $23.94. Front-month volume was 34,652 lots.

IPE May gas oil futures settled $4.50 a tonne higher at $216.50.