Brent crude oil looked poised to end the week with its largest weekly decline in four months.
The commodity traded at $107.75 at 7:15 GMT on Friday after economic data caused investors to worry about global demand growth at a time when supply is rising in Libya and the US.
US inventory data was a major driver of crude prices after a report from the Energy Information Administration showed that the nation’s crude stockpiles had risen to their highest level since records began last week. WTI prices tumbled and dragged Brent down with them.
Meanwhile, supply from Libya also increase as the nation’s government finally resumed operations at its eastern Zueitina port. Libyan exports had been depressed to less than half of their normal capacity for eight months as rebel groups had seized control of the nation’s oilfields and shut them down. Now, the government has reached an agreement with the rebels, but reopening the ports has been a slow process.
Moving forward, investors will be focused on economic data for a better picture of global demand. Data from the world’s top two consumers, China and the US, will play an important role in driving Brent prices over the next few days.
HSBC is set to release its final Purchasing Managers Index for China on Monday. Analysts don’t see the data causing a stir after Thursday’s release of a worse than expected official Purchasing Managers’ Index.
In the US, nonfarm payrolls data is due out later on Friday, which is expected to show that the nation has emerged from its severe winter and that the economy is back on track.
Reuters reported that economists expect the figure to show that employment in the US increased at its fastest pace in five months.
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