Thursday, November 08, 2012

Oil Prices Rebound On U.S. Employment Report

CRUDE oil prices climbed from a four-month low in New York after fewer Americans than forecast filed claims for unemployment insurance and Greek lawmakers approved a package of austerity measures needed to unlock further financial aid.

Crude oil for December delivery rose 68 cents, or 0.8 per cent, to $85.12 a barrel at 11:50 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract dropped $4.27 on Wednesday to $84.44, the lowest settlement since July 10. Prices are down 14 per cent this year.

Brent oil for December settlement increased 20 cents to $107.02 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

Futures rose as much as 1.5 per cent as the Labor Department said applications for jobless benefits fell by 8,000 to 355,000 last week. The Greek Parliament passed a bill on pension, wage and benefit cuts. Oil gave up some of its gains as equities fell and the euro retreated to a two-month low versus the dollar.

“Unemployment claims fell further, which is a hopeful signal about the economy,” said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC, a New York-based hedge fund that focuses on energy.

“Concerns about the euro-zone have eased again with the passage of further austerity measures in Greece.”

Economists forecast jobless claims would be little changed from the prior week at 365,000, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey.

“The jobless claims are better than expected,” said Gene McGillian, an analyst and broker at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. “The labor picture seems to be stabilising.”

Consumer confidence climbed last week as Americans’ ratings of the economy reached the highest level in more than four years. The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose to minus 34.4 in the period ended November 4, the best reading since April, from minus 34.7 the previous week. Twenty per cent of those surveyed had a positive view of the world’s largest economy, the most since March 2008.

The U.S. consumed 18.8 million barrels a day of oil in 2011, or 21 per cent of the world’s total, according to BP Plc (BP/)’s Statistical Review of World Energy.

Greece’s bill on pension, wage and benefit cuts was approved with 153 votes in favor in the 300-seat Parliament early yesterday, according to Athanasios Nakos, the acting parliament speaker.

European Central Bank President, Mario Draghi, said yesterday the economic outlook is worsening and the bank stands ready to activate its bond-purchase program if governments fulfill the necessary conditions.

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