West Texas Intermediate crude rebounded from an eight-month low, trimming a second weekly decline, before reports on Chinese trade and U.S. payrolls.
Futures rose as much as 0.7 percent in New York. Claims for unemployment benefits in the U.S. dropped last week to the lowest level in a month, Labor Department figures showed yesterday. The jobless rate will probably hold at 7 percent for December, a Bloomberg News survey of economists shows before data today. Growth in Chinese exports and imports probably slowed last month, according to a separate survey.
WTI for February delivery gained as much as 64 cents to $92.30 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, and was at $92.26 at 10:43 a.m. Sydney time. The contract fell 67 cents to $91.66 yesterday, the lowest close since May 1. The volume of all futures traded was about 79 percent below the 100-day average. Prices are down 1.8 percent this week.
Brent for February settlement lost 76 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $106.39 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange yesterday. The European benchmark crude ended the session at a premium of $14.16 to WTI.
The number of applications for jobless benefits declined by 15,000 to 330,000 in the period ended Jan. 4, the fewest since the end of November, the Labor Department said yesterday in Washington. The U.S. is the world’s biggest oil consumer.
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