Saturday, February 8, 2014

REPOST: UPDATE 7-Brent oil rises, U.S. jobs, gasoline futures support

"Brent's premium to the U.S. benchmark widened back near $10 a barrel after narrowing to $7.94 on Wednesday, the tightest since Oct. 10." Read more about this news from this article:


NEW YORK, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Brent crude oil rose by more than $1 to a one-week high on Friday on tighter North Sea supplies and rising heating oil and gasoline prices, which were supported by continued cold and a decline in the U.S. jobless rate.
U.S. oil also rose, but by less, pressured by the onset of U.S. refinery maintenance season that will curb demand for crude oil.
Persistently cold weather across the United States continued to fuel demand for heating oil while a declining U.S. jobless rate supported gasoline futures prices, said Oliver Sloup, director of managed futures with in Chicago.
"At the end of the day this has been an extraordinary winter. The cold weather is going to continue to support heating oil demand," he said.
Analysts said Brent was also supported by evidence that North Sea crude supply could be lower than expected in the next few months.
Brent crude oil futures were last trading $1.16 higher at $108.35 at 11:47 a.m. EST (1647 GMT). The contract breached the 200-day moving average of $107.89 for the first time in five sessions.
U.S. crude was up 43 cents at $98.27, after trading at a low of $97.11. The contract made a solid run above the 100-day moving average of $97.69.
Brent's premium to the U.S. benchmark <CL-LCO1=R> widened back near $10 a barrel after narrowing to $7.94 on Wednesday, the tightest since Oct. 10.
U.S. heating oil futures were trading 1.4 percent higher at $3.0362 per gallon. U.S. gasoline futures were up 1.5 percent at $2.7237.
The U.S. unemployment rate hit a new five-year low of 6.6 percent in January, down from 6.7 percent in December, the Labor Department said. U.S. nonfarm payrolls rose only 113,000, a lower-than-expected gain that initially forced oil prices lower.
Gains in U.S. crude on the jobs report were capped as refiners entered maintenance season, which will cut demand for oil.
Citgo Petroleum Corp began a shutdown of both plants at its refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas on Wednesday and Motiva Enterprises LLC said it began maintenance at its 235,000 barrel-per-day refinery in Convent, Louisiana, on Thursday.
The market was keeping a wary eye on Saturday's talks between Iran and the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency in Tehran.
The U.N. nuclear watchdog hopes to persuade the Islamic state to start addressing long-held suspicions it has worked on designing a nuclear bomb.
Tough international sanctions over the past two years have cut Iran's oil exports in half.
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