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Crude Oil Settles Higher On Economic Data, Gains 0.9% For Week

U.S. crude oil settled higher Friday, on some upbeat macroeconomic data out of China and the U.S., with supply concerns after the conflict in Syria further escalated. In the economic front, China's manufacturing activity expanded at the fastest pace in more than a year, while industrial production in the U.S. increased more than anticipated in November.

China's manufacturing activity expanded at the fastest pace in 14 months in December amid a build-up in new orders, a preliminary survey by Markit Economics revealed. The headline HSBC/Markit purchasing managers' index rose to 50.9 in December from 50.5 in November.

Industrial production in the U.S. increased more than anticipated in November, a Federal Reserve report said Friday. The increase reflects a recovery in production for industries that were impacted by Hurricane Sandy, with industrial production surging up 1.1 percent in November after falling by a downwardly revised 0.7 percent in October. Economists expected production to increase by 0.3 percent compared to the 0.4 percent drop originally reported for the previous month.

Light Sweet Crude Oil futures for January delivery gained $0.84 or 1.0 percent to close at $86.73 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange Friday.

Crude prices scaled a high of $86.92 a barrel intraday and a low of $86.04.

For the week, oil prices gained 0.9 percent

Yesterday, oil settled lower on continued demand growth concerns despite some upbeat macroeconomic data out of the world's largest economy.

The dollar index, which tracks the U.S. unit against six major currencies, traded at 79.58 on Friday, down from 79.93 in North American trade late Thursday. The dollar scaled a high of 79.98 intraday and a low of 79.50.

The euro traded higher against the dollar at $1.3158 on Friday, as compared to $1.3077 late Thursday in North America. The euro scaled a high of $1.3173 intraday and a low of $1.3068.

In economic news from the U.S., the Labor Department said its consumer price index fell by 0.3 percent in November following a 0.1 percent increase in October. Economists had been expecting prices to edge down by 0.2 percent. Excluding the steep drop in energy prices as well as a modest increase in food prices, the core consumer price index inched up 0.1 percent in November after rising by 0.2 percent in October. Core prices had been expected to increase by 0.2 percent.

Elsewhere, eurozone inflation slowed as estimated to 2.2 percent in November from 2.5 percent in October, final data from Eurostat showed. On a monthly basis, prices fell 0.2 percent. The decrease largely reflects slowdown in energy price growth to 5.7 percent annually from 8 percent.

Survey results from Markit Economics showed eurozone private sector to have contracted at a slower pace as Germany recovered at the end of the year. The composite Purchasing Managers' Index rose to a nine-month high of 47.3 in December, from 46.5 in November.

Germany's private sector expanded in December after contracting for eight straight months, underpinned by service sector recovery, Markit Economics said. The flash composite output index came in at 50.5 in December, an improvement on the 49.2 recorded in November.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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