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Crude oil prices drifted lower on Friday, pushing the most active crude futures contract to a weak close, amid worries about demand after data showed a much smaller than expected increase in U.S. non-farm payrolls growth in the month of August.

The U.S. Labor Department’s closely watched monthly employment report showed non-farm payroll employment rose by 235,000 jobs in August after soaring by an upwardly revised 1.053 million jobs in July. Economists had expected employment to jump by about 750,000 jobs compared to the spike of 943,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures ended down by $0.70 or about 1% at $69.29 a barrel.

Despite today’s loss, WTI Crude futures gained 0.8% in the week.

Brent crude futures were down $0.55 or 0.74% at $72.48 a barrel a little while ago.

Oil prices moved higher earlier in the session on reports saying a slow recovery for the U.S. Gulf Coast export and refining hub from the impact of Hurricane Ida could result in a drop in oil stockpile.

Recent data from Energy Information Administration showing oil stockpiles in the U.S. dropped by over 7 million barrels last week contributed as well to oil’s uptick earlier in the day.

A report from Baker Hughes said the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil dropped by 16 at 394 this week. The total active U.S. rig count, which includes those drilling for natural gas, also fell by 11 to stand at 497, the report said.


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