By September 1, 2016 Read More →

Crude prices head for biggest weekly loss since mid-January

Crude prices

Crude prices rose in overseas trading on Friday. QEP Resources photo.

Crude prices may be affected by Saudi tone on output freeze

 By Florence Tan

SINGAPORE, Sept 2 (Reuters) – Crude prices rose on Friday after losses of more than 3 percent a day earlier, with investors treading cautiously ahead of key U.S. employment data that will help gauge the health of the world’s largest economy and oil consumer.

Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude futures are on track for their biggest weekly losses since mid-January, hit by oil inventory builds and weak U.S. manufacturing data.

Investors are also sceptical that Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other producers such as Russia will agree to cut production at a meeting in Algeria later this month despite Saudi Arabia’s efforts to boost prices.

Brent crude had climbed 50 cents to $45.95 a barrel by 0043 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up 47 cents at $43.63 a barrel.

“Downward momentum is a feature of the oil market,” said CMC Markets analyst Ric Spooner.

“The end of the U.S. driving season and the prospect of building inventories create downward risk for the oil price and may see further pressure on energy stocks today.”

Investors are looking ahead to non-farm payroll data later in day to gauge the health of the U.S. economy, with a strong reading seen boosting the chance of a Federal Reserve interest rate hike soon.

A rate rise may strengthen the U.S. dollar, which could depress oil prices as it would make the dollar-denominated commodity more expensive for holders of other currencies.

(Reporting by Florence Tan; Editing by Joseph Radford)

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