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U.S. oil prices Friday log first gain in 5 sessions, but post a third straight weekly loss – MarketWatch

  • Natural-gas prices register an over 11% weekly slide
Pump jacks operate in front of a drilling rig in an oil field in Midland, Texas U.S. August 22, 2018. REUTERS/Nick Oxford/File Photo
Pump jacks operate in front of a drilling rig in an oil field in Midland, Texas U.S. August 22, 2018. ( Nick Oxford/Reuters )

Myra P. Saefong and William Watts, MarketWatch

Energiesnet.com 05 05 2023

Oil futures on Friday posted their first gain in five sessions, but logged a more than a 7% loss for the week driven by worries over the economic outlook.

Price history

  • West Texas Intermediate crude for June delivery CL00, -0.01% CL.1, -0.01% CLM23, -0.01% rose $2.78, or nearly 4.1%, to settle at $71.34 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, with front-month prices posting a weekly loss of 7.1%.

  • July Brent crude BRN00, +0.09% BRNN23, +0.09%, the global benchmark, gained $2.80, or 3.9%, to $75.30 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe, for a 6.3% weekly drop.

  • Back on Nymex, June gasoline RBM23, +0.13% rose 2.3% to $2.38 a gallon, for a 6% weekly loss.

  • June heating oil HOM23, +0.44% gained 3.4% to $2.31 a gallon, with prices 2.6% from the week-ago close.

  • June natural gas NGM23, -1.12% rose 1.7% to $2.14 per million British thermal units, logging an 11.3% weekly decline.

Price action

Oil prices climbed Friday in the wake of the U.S. jobs report, which revealed a strong increase of 253,000 new jobs in April, according to government data. The unemployment rate fell to 3.4% from 3.5%.

Oil has been “sold heavily by recession fears throughout the past trading week, yet the jobs report, along with relatively upbeat comments from central bank officials and statements throughout the week, suggests that there is some hope a recession can be avoided this year,” said Jameel Ahmad, chief analyst at CompareBroker.io, in emailed commentary.

WTI crude ended Thursday at its lowest since March 20, with crude continuing to feel pressure from fears aggressive monetary tightening by the Federal Reserve and other major central banks that may spark a steep global downturn, undercutting demand for crude.

Read: Why this falling fuel price is stoking recession fears even as prime gas-demand season nears

Continued weakness in shares of U.S. regional banks was seen adding to a risk-averse mood among investors. That weighed on oil futures, which have more than erased an early April rally sparked by an unexpected round of production cuts by members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and their allies — known collectively as OPEC+.

Read: Baker Hughes data show a weekly decline in active U.S. oil-drilling rigs

The steep drop, however, was also seen leaving crude futures technically oversold and due for a bounce.

“Concerns about demand are the key factor here, though we doubt that they are justified to such an extent,” said Barbara Lambrecht, commodity analyst at Commerzbank, in a note.

Pessimism around demand from China following its dropping of COVID-19 curbs appears particularly excessive given the country’s “substantial pent-up demand,” Lambrecht wrote. “If Chinese crude oil imports, which nearly reached their June 2020 record level in March, surprise to the upside in April too, this could put the market in a more optimistic mood.”Sharpen Your Investing Skills

Natural-gas futures on Friday climbed along with oil, but suffered a hefty loss on the week. They posted a decline Thursday after the Energy Information Administration reported that domestic natural-gas supplies rose by 54 billion cubic feet for the week ended April 28. That nearly matched the average increase of 52 billion cubic feet forecast by analysts surveyed by S&P Global Commodity Insights.

marketwatch 05 05 2023

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