Oil rose on Friday, as the U.S. jobs market slowed more than expected last month, bolstering expectations of a pause in interest rate hikes in the world’s biggest consumer, but they remained on track for a weekly loss as supply concerns driven by Middle East tensions eased.
Brent crude futures LCOc1 were up 81 cents, or 0.9 per cent, to $87.66 a barrel at 1243 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures CLc1gained $1.01, or 1.2 per cent, to $83.47 a barrel.
Both benchmarks gained more than $2 a barrel on Thursday, but were on track to lose up to 3% on the week.
U.S. job growth slowed more than expected in October, official data showed on Friday, while wage inflation cooled, pointing to an easing in labour market conditions.
The data could bolster the view that the U.S. Federal Reserve need not raise interest rates further.
Meanwhile, China’s manufacturing activity unexpectedly contracted in October. The official purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell to 49.5 in October from 50.2, dipping back below the 50-point level demarcating contraction from expansion, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Wednesday.
On Friday, a private sector survey showed China’s services activity expanded at a slightly faster pace in October, but sales grew at the softest rate in 10 months and employment stagnated as business confidence waned.
On the supply side, Saudi Arabia is expected to reconfirm an extension of its voluntary oil output cut of 1 million barrels per day through December, based on analyst expectations.
Geopolitical concerns also remained in focus.
“The oil market will be watching for an escalation of tensions, particularly on the Lebanese border, as Hezbollah attacks increase,” City Index Fiona Cincotta said.
Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Friday is expected to make his first public comments since Hamas and Israel went to war, a speech that will be scrutinised for clues on how the group’s role in the conflict might evolve.
Ahmad Ghaddar – Reuters