Investing.com - Crude prices rose on Friday on sentiments that below-normal temperatures will lead to increased demand for heating oil, while a mixed jobs report sent prices gaining due to perceptions that the economy is improving but not fast enough to prompt the Federal Reserve to rush to taper stimulus programs.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in March traded at USD99.20 a barrel during U.S. trading, up 1.39%. New York-traded oil futures hit a session low of USD97.15 a barrel and a high of USD99.30 a barrel.
The March contract settled up 0.47% at USD97.84 a barrel on Thursday.
Nymex oil futures were likely to find support at USD97.14 a barrel, the earlier low, and resistance at USD100.42 a barrel, the high from Dec. 30.
Supply snags in the North Sea sent oil prices gaining alongside sentiments that below-normal temperatures this winter will hike demand for heating oil.
While updated weather-forecasting models called for a thawing trend around the third week of February, market perceptions that the winter has been cold enough so far to take its toll on heating oil bolstered the commodity.
Also on Friday, the U.S. Labor Department reported earlier that the U.S. added 113,000 jobs in January, less than an expected 185,000 increase. December''s figure was revised up to a 75,000 rise from a previously estimated 74,000 increase.
The report also showed that 142,000 jobs were added in the U.S. private sector last month, compared to expectations for a 185,000 increase. In December, the number of jobs created in the private sector was revised up to 89,000 from a previously estimated 87,000.
The U.S. unemployment rate ticked down to 6.6% last month, from 6.7% in December. Analysts had expected the unemployment rate to remain unchanged in January.
The numbers had a Goldilocks effect on oil by painting a picture of a not-too-hot-not-too-cold economy, one that will grow fast enough to hike demand for energy but slow enough to convince the Federal Reserve to taper its USD65 billion monthly bond-buying program very gradually.
Fed asset purchases tend to weaken the greenback by driving down interest rates, thus making oil an attractive commodity in dollar-denominated exchanges.
Furthermore, investors applauded data revealing that the size of the labor force increased.
Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil futures for March delivery were up 1.69% and trading at 109.01 a barrel, while the spread between the Brent and U.S. crude contracts stood at 9.81 a barrel.
Jerusalem Post Annual Conference. Buy it now, Special offer. Come meet Israel's top leaders