Crude Oil Clings To USD45 After Downbeat Jobs Report

Global benchmark Brent LCOc1 gained 47 cents to $48.16 a barrel by 0324 EDT.

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News from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) that USA crude oil production in July climbed unexpectedly by just shy of 100,000 to 9.358 million barrels per day is also weighing on prices. Meanwhile, today’s jobs data will help decide if the Fed raises rates this year;… The data suggested weakness in the economy and potentially lower demand for oil. Prices across other commodities like copper and base metals also strengthened.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) shifted policy in November 2014 by deciding not to support prices by cutting output, in order to defend market share against US shale oil and other higher-cost supply sources.Saudi crude OSPs are usually released by the fifth of each month and set the trend for Iranian, Kuwaiti and Iraqi prices, affecting more than 12 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude bound for Asia.

Still, US crude was 57 cents higher at $45.31 a barrel by 0253 GMT, after settling 35 cents lower in the previous session.

USA gasoline futures first rallied then slipped on Thursday to end a volatile session flat at $1.3668 a gallon. WTI traded in the tightest range since June last month as China’s slowing economy and the highest Russian output in two decades signaled the global glut will linger. The intervention added to geopolitical uncertainty in the oil-rich Middle East.

The US National Weather Service downgraded the possibility that Hurricane Joaquin would impact oil & gas infrastructure along the US East coast.

Crude prices rose on Friday as fighting in Syria intensified. The number of rigs has dropped since oil prices started falling past year and there are now about 60 per cent fewer rigs working since a peak of 1,609 last October.

USA crude production unexpectedly rose last week despite a drop in active drilling rigs. Year-on-year, the unemployment rate in those industries increased from 6.1 percent to 11.2 percent. “Simply because the Brent and WTI price have both been stuck in the mid to upper $40s since about the beginning of August (aside from Black Monday period)”.

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Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange ended down 1.2 per cent at $US5,097 a tonne from an earlier $US5,230, the highest since September 22.

Oil shares have edged higher today pushed by fears of violence in Syria and an economically stronger United States. – Reuters pic