Oil rises above $113 after U.S. jobs data

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Oil climbed above $113 per barrel on Thursday as dealers weighed relatively encouraging U.S. jobs figures against weaker-than-expected Chinese trade data.

Downbeat comments by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries also weighed on the market. The group's monthly report said oil supply was plentiful and in excess of market requirements.

Brent crude rose 32 cents to $113.52 a barrel, while U.S. crude climbed 65 cents to $97.41 by 1255 GMT after reports showed new U.S. jobless claims fell slightly last week.

Brent has fallen sharply from highs of around $126 per barrel in April due to worries about political turmoil in Europe and a growing conviction that the market is well supplied.

"Brent seems to be bottoming out," said Carsten Fritsch, oil analyst at Commerzbank. "But I do not expect to see much of a rebound in the coming days due to physical oversupply and a weak euro zone."

China's exports and imports in April grew at a far slower rate than forecast, government data showed.

Its trade performance last month was also surprisingly weak, and analysts said the government would need to loosen monetary policy to spur expansion or risk missing annual growth targets.

The price difference between the Brent and U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crudes has meanwhile risen to its highest level since April 16, the day of the announcement that the reversal of the Seaway Pipeline had been moved forward to the middle of May.

Seaway will carry 150,000 barrels per day (bpd) from Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point of the U.S. crude contract, to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast. The first crude is scheduled to go into the pipeline next week.

Traders said the spread was widening despite Seaway's imminent reversal as crude stocks have continued to build around the Cushing storage hub, hitting a record high.

Signs of rising supplies globally also weighed on oil prices.

OPEC quoted secondary sources in its monthly market report saying that it pumped 1.62 million bpd above its supply target and demand for its own oil in April. (Additional reporting by Francis Kan in Singapore and David Sheppard in London, Editing by Jane Baird)



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