Investing.com - New York-traded crude oil futures rose $1 on Friday, as better than expected U.S. jobs data eased concerns over the strength of the U.S. economy.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light sweet crude futures for delivery in April settled up 1%, or $1.02, to end the week at $102.58 a barrel.
U.S. oil futures were likely to find support at $100.13 a barrel, the low from March 6 and resistance at $104.96 a barrel, the high from March 4.
On the week, U.S. crude futures, also known as West Texas Intermediate or WTI, fell $0.01 cent.
The Labor Department said Friday that the U.S. economy added 175,000 jobs in February, well above expectations for 149,000 new jobs. The unemployment rate ticked up to 6.7% from 6.6% in January, as more people joined the workforce.
The upbeat jobs report eased concerns over soft U.S. economic data seen in the past few months and underlined the view that the Federal Reserve is likely to continue to gradually taper its bond-buying program.
Gains were limited as concerns over Chinese domestic bond defaults underlined worries over the health of the Asian nation’s economy.
Data released over the weekend showed that Chinese exports collapsed 18.1% in February from a year earlier, disappointing expectations for a 6.8% increase.
Imports rose 10.1%, compared to forecasts for an 8% increase. According to customs data, China''s February crude oil imports totaled 23.05 million metric tons, down 18.1% from January.
The significant decline in China’s exports led to a deficit of $22.98 billion last month, compared to a surplus of $31.86 billion in January. Analysts had expected a surplus of $14.5 billion in February.
A separate report showed that consumer price inflation in China rose 2% in February from a year earlier, in line with expectations, while producer price inflation declined 2%, compared to forecasts for a 1.9% drop.
The disappointing data highlighted concerns about slowing growth in the world''s second biggest oil consumer.
In the week ahead, investors will be anticipating what will be closely-watched data on U.S. retail sales and consumer sentiment for further indications of the strength of the economy and the future course of monetary policy.
Data from the Commodities Futures Trading Commission released Friday showed that hedge funds and money managers increased their bullish bets in New York-traded oil futures in the week ending March 4.
Net longs totaled 346,469 contracts, up 2.15% from net longs of 339,052 in the preceding week.
Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil futures for April delivery added 0.83%, or $0.90 cents, on Friday to settle the week at $109.07 a barrel.
Despite Friday’s gains, the April Brent contract declined 0.06%, or $0.07 cents, on the week. Meanwhile, the spread between the Brent and the WTI crude contracts stood at $6.49 a barrel by close of trade on Friday.
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