Oil Up 3% as US Jobs Data Hits Dollar, Wall Street Advances as Payrolls Report Falls Short

NEW YORK — Oil gained 3 per cent on Friday after a weak US jobs report hit the US dollar and boosted commodities. But crude prices still closed sharply lower on concerns about oversupply. And US stocks advanced on Friday as the weaker-than-expected payrolls report tamped down expectations for a September rate hike from the US Federal Reserve.

US nonfarm payrolls rose by 151 thousand jobs in August after an upwardly revised 275 thousand increase in July, with job cuts in manufacturing and construction, the Labour Department said. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast payrolls rising by 180 thousand last month.

US employment growth eased more than expected in August after two straight months of robust gains, the report showed, which initially led to doubts that the Federal Reserve would hike interest rates at its Sept. 20-21 meeting.

The dollar, however, rose later in the day on bets that a September rate hike remained on the cards.

Crude prices were also supported by a steadying US oil rig count.

After being unchanged last week, the oil rig count provided by industry firm Baker Hughes rose by just one this week as crude prices held below the key USD50-a-barrel mark that analysts and drillers said made drilling more viable.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 gained USD1.38, or 3 per cent, settling at USD46.83 a barrel. Over the week, Brent was down 6 per cent, its biggest drop in five weeks.

US West Texas Intermediate futures CLc1 rose USD1.28, also 3 per cent, to settle at USD44.44. WTI fell nearly 7 per cent on the week, its largest decline in eight weeks.

"It's quite likely oil will hold at mid-USD40 levels," said Carl Larry Director, director of business development for oil & gas at Frost & Sullivan. "More telling of how oil performs will be the rig count in coming weeks and OPEC gestures to support prices."

For the week, both the Dow and S&P 500 indices rose 0.5 and 0.6 per cent, respectively.

The energy sector .SPNY, up 0.8 per cent, helped pace gains as both WTI CLc1 and Brent LCOc1 oil prices settled up 3 per cent, but crude prices still ended the week with sharp losses on oversupply concerns.


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