West Texas Intermediate crude rose for a fifth day amid speculation that weaker-than-forecast jobs growth may prompt the U.S. Federal Reserve to halt tapering of economic stimulus in the world’s biggest oil consumer.
Futures climbed as much as 0.6 percent in New York after advancing the most in two months on Feb. 7. Payrolls gained 113,000 in January, according to the Labor Department, less than the 180,000 median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. Libyan oil output increased to about 600,000 barrels a day after protests that shut a pipeline ended, according to Mohamed Elharari, a spokesman for the state-run National Oil Corp.
“Energy markets saw the disappointing payrolls as good news, in terms of what it may mean for tapering,” Mark Pervan, the head of commodity research at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., said in a note today.
WTI for March delivery gained as much as 58 cents to $100.46 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, and was at $100.30 at 10:49 a.m. Sydney time. The contract rose 2.1 percent to $99.88 on Feb. 7, the highest since Dec. 27. The volume of all futures traded was about 26 percent above the 100-day average. Prices gained 2.5 percent last week.
Brent for March settlement climbed 14 cents to $109.71 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark crude was at a premium of $9.41 to WTI, from $9.69 on Feb. 7.