Oil higher in Asia ahead of US jobs report, hurricane threat
Oil prices climbed in Asia Friday ahead of the release of a U.S. jobs report and as a hurricane threatened refineries on the U.S. east coast.
Employment data for September, to be released later Friday, is important because an improvement in the labor market is a key factor supporting the Federal Reserve’s plan to hike its nearzero interest rates, analysts said.
A rate increase is supportive of the U.S. dollar which would make dollar-priced oil more expensive to weaker currencies, hurting demand and depressing prices.
In afternoon Asian trade, U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for November delivery advanced 57 cents to US$45.31 and Brent crude for November added 37 cents to US$48.06 a barrel.
contracts ended lower after a choppy trading session on Thursday.
Analysts expect the jobs report will show the U.S. economy added 205,000 jobs in September and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.1 percent, a sevenyear low.
Traders are also watching if Hurricane Joaquin would change direction and threaten oil refineries and storage facilities in the U.S. east coast.
“We expect to see traders take positions in the event the hurricane changes path over the weekend. This would likely put some upside for oil prices,” said Daniel Ang, an investment analyst with Phillip Futures in Singapore.
The slowdown in China’s commodities- hungry economy also remains a concern for the oil market but analysts said a sharp deceleration, or hard landing, is unlikely.