Brent Gains On Lower Stocks
Brent crude oil rose $2 on Thursday after reports showed that US crude stocks had fallen. The commodity traded steadily at $109.66 at 8:15 GMT on Friday morning, poised to end the week on a high.
CNBC reported that US distillate stockpiles fell by 4 million barrels in the week ending on November 15th, lower than analyst predictions. US data coupled with data from Europe, which showed that the region's Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp hub lost 28.2 percent of its gasoline stocks, helped boost Brent prices.
Brent prices were also supported by positive US economic data which showed US manufacturing PMI had risen to its highest since March. The figure suggested that the US recovery has taken hold and that the nation's economy is nearly ready to stand on its own.
New unemployment claims fell more than expected as well. US labor data has been a major player in the markets recently as the US' central bank has said that its assessment of the nation's economic health will be closely tied to labor data.
For that reason, the labor data also had a negative effect on crude prices as it could push the Fed to begin tapering its asset buying program sooner rather than later. FOMC minutes released on Wednesday have put many on edge about the bank's future plans, so any indication of economic improvement in the US will likely come with the threat of the end of easy money.
Moving forward, investors will continue to monitor talks between Western leaders and Iranian officials as the two attempt to strike a deal on Iran's disputed nuclear program. If the two are able to come to an agreement, it would mean the end of strict sanctions which have kept much of Iran's oil from the markets.
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