Oil Prices Jump On Bright U.S. Employment Data
Oil prices rose early on Friday after fresh data showed that the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 3.5 percent in September, the lowest rate in nearly 50 years, which eased some of the concerns about a looming recession.
Despite the price rise early on Friday, oil prices are set for a second consecutive week of losses.
Last week, oil prices posted a weekly loss and they just had their worst quarter this year, the worst three-month performance since Q4 2018 when prices crashed by 40 percent after the U.S. granted six-month waivers to the eight largest Iranian oil buyers.
In Q3, concerns about global oil demand growth trumped geopolitics and the fact that U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela further tightened and cut off some more oil supply to the market, in addition to the cuts by the OPEC+ group.
This week, oil prices had a losing streak, falling early on Thursday to their lowest level since early August as mounting evidence of a global economic slowdown and rising U.S. oil inventories more than offset all the price gains from last month’s attack on Saudi oil infrastructure.
Oil prices are now lower than they were just before the September 14 attacks on critical Saudi oil facilities, after the Kingdom was quick to reassure the market in the past weeks that no oil shipment would be skipped and production capacity would be restored. The market, however, turned decisively bearish this week with a string of economic data and forecasts showing that global economic growth is slowing down.
Friday’s jobs report, which also showed moderate U.S. job growth in September, eased some of the fears that had mounted during the week.
The U.S. manufacturing ISM report for September—showing a second consecutive month of contraction—weighed down on oil prices in the middle of the week, as did the inventory build of 3.1 million barrels for the week to September 27 reported by the Energy Information Administration on Wednesday.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com