Crude Oil Futures Settle Lower

Trading 08 mar 2019 Donner votre avis

Crude oil futures ended lower on Friday as worries about demand growth resurfaced on data showing a weak jobs growth in the U.S. in the month of February and a sharp plunge in Chinese exports.

Continued uncertainty about U.S.-China trade negotiations contributed as well to fears about growth.

However, oil prices came off the day's lows thanks to a third weekly drop in U.S. oil rig count.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for April ended down $0.59, or 1%, at $56.07 a barrel.

On Thursday, crude oil futures for April ended up $0.44, or 0.8%, at $56.66 a barrel.

Oil futures shed 0.5% in the week.

Demand growth fears had already gripped the market on Thursday after the European Central Bank cut its growth forecast for the Eurozone economy and the Organization for Economic Co-Operation & Development (OECD) lowered its forecast for the global economy for 2019 and 2020.

However, OPEC-led supply cuts and U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela supported oil prices on Thursday.

Baker Hughes reported today that the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil dropped by nine to 834 this week. Last week, the oil-rig count had fallen by 10, dropping for a second straight week.

Official data from China showed Chinese exports tumbled the most in three years in February and imports fell for a third straight month. Exports nosedived 20.7% in February from a year earlier, reflecting weaker demand and distortions from the Lunar New Year holiday. That was far below expectations for a 4.8%. Imports fell 5.2% after a 1.5% decrease in January.

In the U.S., job growth nearly ground to a halt in February after soaring in January, data from the Labor Department showed.

The Labor Department said non-farm payroll employment edged up by 20,000 jobs in February after jumping by an upwardly revised 311,000 jobs in January.

Economists had expected employment to increase by about 180,000 jobs compared to the spike of 304,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

The much weaker than expected job growth in February represented the worst month since the loss of 18,000 jobs in September of 2017, when employment was impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

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