Crude Price Edges Towards $38 Per Barrel Ahead Of U.s Data


BEVERLY HILLS, March 05, (THEWILL) – Crude oil futures edged up on Friday as traders and analysts eyed United States, U.S, jobs data which could give further momentum to rising prices.

Brent futures rose 19 cents to 37.26 dollars a barrel after settling 14 cents higher in the previous session.

The crude benchmark is set to end the week with a gain of more than five per cent, according to analysts.

U.S crude futures traded up 13 cents to 34.70 dollars a barrel having settled down nine cents in the previous session.

While U.S. crude inventories rose to a new record of 517.98 million barrels last week, output fell for a sixth straight week to 9.08 million barrels a day, according to the U.S. government's Energy Information Administration.

Cuts in U.S. production are providing price support, but investors are also waiting for U.S. economic data later on Friday to give further direction.

“A lot of traders are keeping their powder dry in front of non-farm payroll data – it's the No.1 (indicator) in terms of crude consumers,” said Ben Le Brun, market analyst at Sydney's OptionsXpress.

“Investors are a little more confident we've seen a bottom in oil (prices),” he added.

Le Brun is forecasting oil prices will hover around $40 by the middle of this year.

Positive numbers for February payrolls and U.S. jobs data, both due on Friday, could give impetus for a further recovery in oil prices, analysts said.

“If we get a decent number this should also improve the demand outlook for the U.S. still the largest oil consumer in the world,” Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch said.

Rising oil prices are helping steer Asian shares toward their strongest week in five months, as global investors returned to riskier assets after a string of positive U.S. economic data.

Meetings between oil producers are expected to take place in March to discuss potential coordinated action although no decision on the date or venue of a possible meeting has been made.