4 Aug 2014

Crude oil futures - weekly outlook: August 4 - 8


                   
West Texas Intermediate oil futures tumbled to a six-month low on Friday, as concerns over U.S. demand for oil and fuel products like gasoline drove prices lower.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude oil for delivery in September fell to a session low of $97.09 a barrel on Friday, the weakest since February 5, before coming off the lows to settle at $97.88, down 0.3%, or 29 cents.
Nymex oil prices were likely to find support at $96.80, the low from February 5 and resistance at $99.85, the high from July 31.
The U.S. Department of Labor said Friday that non-farm payrolls rose by a seasonally adjusted 209,000 in July, below expectations for an increase of 233,000.
The unemployment rate ticked up to 6.2% last month from 6.1% in June. Analysts had expected the jobless rate to hold steady at 6.1% in July.
The disappointing jobs report dampened optimism over the strength of the labor market and reduced expectations that the Federal Reserve will begin to raise rates sooner than previously thought.
For the week, Nymex oil futures plunged 4.12%, or $4.21, the worst weekly decline since January.
U.S. oil futures lost more than $2-per-barrel on Thursday as bearish inventory data and heavy losses on Wall Street sent oil below the $100-level.
Weekly supply data showed that total motor gasoline inventories in the U.S. increased by 0.4 million barrels last week to 218.2 million, the highest level in four months.
The ongoing buildup in gasoline stocks during the peak summer driving season in the U.S. was seen as bearish for oil prices, amid speculation of slowing demand.
Data from the Commodities Futures Trading Commission released Friday showed that hedge funds and money managers decreased their bullish bets in New York-traded oil futures in the week ending July 29.
Net longs totaled 276,741 contracts as of last week, down 0.49% from net longs of 278,116 in the preceding week.
Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil for September delivery fell to a daily low of $104.39 a barrel on Friday, the weakest level since April 2, before settling at $104.84 by close of trade, down 1.11%, or $1.18.
The September Brent contract lost 3.27%, or $3.55, on the week, as global supplies were seen as ample despite ongoing violence in Iraq, Libya and Eastern Europe.
Meanwhile the spread between the Brent and the WTI crude contracts stood at $6.96 a barrel by close of trade on Friday, compared to $6.30 in the preceding week.
In the week ahead, investors will be focusing on the outcomes of a spate of central bank meetings, with the European Central Bank, the Bank of Japan, the Bank of England and the Reserve Bank of Australia all to hold monetary policy assessments. - investing.com

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