Crude futures surged more than 3% on Thursday to reach fresh monthly highs, as energy traders continued to digest bullish comments from OPEC Secretary-General Abdalla Salem El-Badri on robust global demand growth over the next year. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, WTI crude for November delivery traded in a broad range between $47.78 and $49.99 a barrel before settling at $49.47, up 1.64 or 3.47% on the day. The sharp gains on Thursday extend a surge from earlier this week when crude futures nearly jumped by 5% during Tuesday’s session. Minutes before Thursday’s close, Texas Long Sweet futures came a penny away from reaching the $50 level, a price not attained since late-July. On the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), brent crude for November delivery wavered between $51.30 and $53.51 a barrel before closing at $53.11, up 1.77 or 3.41% on the session. Brent futures exceeded $53 a barrel for only the second time since Sept. 1. Meanwhile, the spread between the international and U.S. domestic benchmarks of crude stood at $3.64, just above Wednesday’s level of $3.62 at the close of trading. In prepared remarks for an address in front of the International Monetary Fund’s International Monetary and Financial Committee, El-Badri predicted that global demand will increase this year at a level considerably higher than previously anticipated. Citing stronger than expected demand in the U.S. and Europe, as well as South Korea, El-Badri forecasted that global oil demand will spike by 1.5 million barrels per day for 2015.