3 Apr 2014

WTI oil futures decline with ECB meeting, U.S. jobs data in focus

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                  West Texas Intermediate oil futures edged lower on Thursday, as markets were jittery ahead of the European Central Bank's monthly policy statement later in the day as well as Friday’s highly anticipated U.S. nonfarm payrolls report.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, U.S. crude for delivery in May held in a range between $99.18 a barrel and $99.48 a barrel.
Nymex oil last traded at $99.41 a barrel during European morning hours, down 0.22%, or 21 cents. The May contract fell to $98.86 a barrel on Wednesday, the lowest since March 25, before settling at $99.62, down 0.12%, or 12 cents.
Futures were likely to find support at $98.82 a barrel, the low from March 25 and resistance at $101.57 a barrel, the high from April 1.
Recent weak euro zone inflation data has added to pressure on the ECB to take steps to stave off the risk of deflation.
However, most investors expected the ECB to leave monetary policy on hold, after Bundesbank head Jens Weidmann said over the weekend that the region is not in a deflationary cycle, and that the recent slowdown in inflation was due in large part to temporary factors, such as falls in food and energy prices.
Market players also looked ahead to key U.S. economic data later in the day for further indications on the strength of the economy and the future course of monetary policy.
The U.S. is to publish the weekly report on initial jobless claims as well as a report on service sector activity. Investors were also beginning to turn their attention to Friday’s highly-anticipated nonfarm payrolls data.
On Wednesday, payroll processing firm ADP said non-farm private employment rose by a seasonally adjusted 191,000 in March, adding to hopes that the slowdown in economic activity seen at the start of the year would be temporary.
Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil for May delivery eased down 0.05%, or 5 cents, to trade at $104.74 a barrel, while the spread between the Brent and U.S. crude contracts stood at $5.33 a barrel.
London-traded Brent futures fell to a five-month low of $103.95 a barrel on Wednesday, amid expectations oil exports from Libya will begin picking up in the near-term. - investing.com

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