Crude oil prices mixed in Asian trade

PTI Singapore | Updated on November 23, 2017 Published on February 10, 2014

Oil prices were mixed in Asian trade today following a disappointing US jobs report but fears of another severe storm in the United States boosted the demand for heating fuel, analysts said.

New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for March delivery, gained 13 cents to $100.01 and Brent North Sea crude for March delivery eased 25 cents to $109.32.

The US economy added only 113,000 jobs in January, after a paltry 75,000 in December, according to the labour department’s survey of business establishments. Analysts had expected 175,000.

But a separate household survey showed the unemployment rate dropped for the third consecutive month, to 6.6 per cent from 6.7 per cent in December. The labour force participation rate improved, though still at a historically low level, to 63.0 per cent.

“Looking at the jobs data and how the equity and bond markets have responded... some of the investors were actually focused on the bright spots like the higher participation rate,” Desmond Chua, market analyst at CMC markets in Singapore, said.

News that another winter storm was poised to hit the United States also gave support to WTI prices, helping it breach the psychological $100 level.

Last week, a state of emergency was declared in New Jersey and New York, where dwindling reserves of salt — used to melt snow and road ice — was a problem.

“The possibility of another winter storm has stoked the demand (for heating oil) over the weekend,” Chua said.

He said that the jobs data renewed optimism that the Federal Reserve might slow down the timetable for winding down its economic stimulus programme.

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Published on February 10, 2014
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