Oil Steadies Near $62 After Rallying on U.S. Employment Data

The U.S. jobs report topped estimates last week, increasing confidence in the world’s biggest economy, giving a boost to the outlook for energy demand and driving benchmark crude prices up 3.2 percent on Friday. American oil explorers idled four rigs last week after six consecutive increases in drilling, easing fears over surging shale production. Prices were 0.4 percent lower Monday.

“Employment is the key driver of oil demand, as more people at work means more commutes and, in consequence, rising road fuel use,” said Norbert Ruecker, head of commodity research at Julius Baer Ltd. in Zurich.

American explorers cut the number of rigs drilling for oil by four, the first decline since mid-January, Baker Hughes data showed Friday. That followed government data showing the U.S. added 313,000 jobs in February, the biggest increase since July 2016 and more than the median estimate of 205,000 new positions.

Still, fears over increasing U.S. production continue to weigh on producers and investors. Iran wants OPEC to work to keep oil prices at about $60 a barrel as an increase toward $70 will encourage shale oil output, the country’s Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said, the Wall Street Journal reported.
more at:  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-12/oil-holds-gain-as-u-s-drilling-eases-for-first-time-in-7-weeks

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