Brent Falls As Libyan Oil Returns

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Brent crude oil looked set to finish the week on a loss after news that the Libyan government had reached a deal with rebels holding some of the nation’s oil export terminals and that they were set to reopen.

The commodity fell to $111.03 at 5:10 GMT on Thursday with the crisis in Iraq keeping a floor under prices.

CNBC reported that Libyan Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni announced that about 500,000 barrels of crude per day would be available for export now that the final two oil ports are being returned to the government’s control.

The agreement between the Libyan government and rebel groups marks the end of an oil crisis in Libya that took the nation’s export capacity to less than 50 percent.

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However, Brent prices found support from the ongoing crisis in Iraq where the first meeting of the nation’s new, more inclusive parliament did little to resolve the nation’s problems.

Also buoying oil prices are expectations of improving global demand as economic data from the world’s top two consumers, the US and China, has been improving.

US inventory data showed that crude stocks dropped more than expected, down 3.2 million barrels compared to forecasts of a 2.2 million barrel draw.

Moving forward, US non-farm payrolls data, due out later on Thursday, will be closely watched. Most expect the report to show a fifth consecutive month of gains above 200,000 with analyst expectations ranging from an increase of 210,000 to 213,000.

If the report falls in line with expectations, it could renew speculation that the US Federal Reserve could raise its interest rates sooner than expected. 

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