Crude-oil futures settled higher Friday as investors read into the better-than-expected May U.S. nonfarm payroll data as evidence of buoyant economic conditions.
Light, sweet crude for July delivery settled $1.27, or 1.34%, higher at $96.03 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Brent crude on the ICE Futures Europe was recently $1.02 higher at $104.63 a barrel.
The Labor Department said Friday that U.S. employers added 175,000 new jobs in May, slightly higher than the 169,000 jobs increase forecast by economists.
An improving economy in the U.S., the world's biggest oil consumer, would typically mean greater demand for fuel and higher prices. Supplies also appear to be tightening as the U.S. Energy Information Agency said Wednesday oil stockpiles fell 6.3 million barrels last week, more than expected.
The jobs data sent many markets rallying as equities rose 1% Friday afternoon and the dollar gained 0.16%.
Oil was supported by the equity markets, which reacted positively to the employment numbers, said John Kilduff, founding partner of Again Capital. But at the same time, he said, traders felt the data was "not good enough to cause the Federal Reserve to pull back on its bond purchases."
Traders expect that a strong economic recovery could prompt the Federal Reserve to begin winding down its stimulus program, which would impact commodity and equity markets.
Crude-oil futures registered early gains on the back of the jobs data Friday but later pared some gains as the U.S. dollar rallied against other currencies. As the dollar strengthens, the price of crude oil typically drops as it becomes more expensive for overseas buyers of oil in other currencies.
On Thursday, a weaker dollar helped boost crude oil. But midsession Friday, that connection was severed by the surge in stocks.
Timothy Evans, analyst at Citi Futures Perspective, said in a note that the oil market was taking the equity market's word for it that the 175,000 new jobs added in May signalled an economic recovery. But the U.S. dollar's strength was not "enough to disturb" the overall positive sentiment.
Front-month July reformulated gasoline blendstock, or RBOB, recently traded 2.06 cents, or 0.72%, higher at $2.8715 a gallon.
July heating oil recently traded 2.17 cents higher at $2.8931 a gallon.
Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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