Brent Poised To End On A Gain
Brent crude oil looked poised to end the week with a gain, despite its slip below $110. The commodity traded at $109.92 at 5:31 GMT on Friday morning.
Brent prices were under some pressure earlier in the week when the US Federal Reserve announced that it was tapering its asset purchasing program. The bank's decision strengthened the dollar and in turn put downward pressure on the commodity.
However, gains were minimal as most took the Fed's decision to taper as a signal that the US economy was back on track, which will likely translate into higher crude demand.
Weak data from the US on Thursday put some pressure on Brent prices as investors wondered if the number one oil consumer was actually on track. Initial jobless claims unexpectedly rose, prompting many to question just how strong the labor market was. However, most economists say the US labor market has strong fundamentals, and that this week's jobs data likely reflects seasonal layoffs.
CNBC reported that problems in Libya continued to support Brent prices as the nation began to increase its fuel imports as its own crude exports continued to drop. The nation's export capacity has fallen to 110,000 barrels per day, down from more than one million bpd in July. Tribesmen and civil servants in the African nation are demanding their own share of Libya's income from oil production and have seized and closed down most of the nation's largest oilfields in protest.
Moving forward investors will be looking to Washington in search of clues about the progress between Iran and six world powers. An interim deal between the two last month suggests that a more permanent deal to curb Iran's nuclear program in exchange for eased sanctions is in the future. If sanctions on Iranian oil are lifted, Brent prices would likely plummet as oil would flood the market.
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