Oil futures traded modestly higher Friday, attempting to break an eight-day string of losses for the U.S. benchmark after a run of weak economic data underlined concerns over global demand.
West Texas Intermediate crude for November delivery CLX19, +1.51% rose 26 cents, or 0.5%, to $52.71 a barrel, leaving the U.S. benchmark on track for a 5.7% weekly loss. The global benchmark, December Brent crude BRNZ19, +1.78%, rose 56 cents, or 1%, to $58.27 a barrel, and was headed for a 4.5% weekly decline.
“The main factor weighing on [oil’s] price are concerns about demand,” with weakness on Thursday tied to the Institute for Supply Management’s weaker-than-expected reading on activity in the U.S. services sector, which indicated “the crisis in the manufacturing sector now appears to be spilling over to the previously robust services sector,” said Carsten Fritsch, commodity analyst at Commerzbank, in a Friday note.
“This is not good news for oil demand,” he said.
Oil remained in positive territory after the Labor Department said the U.S. economy added a smaller-than-expected 136,000 new jobs in September versus the 150,000 expected by economists surveyed by MarketWatch. The unemployment rate fell to 3.5% from 3.7%. It had been expected to remain unchanged.
November natural-gas futures NGX19, -2.10% declined 1.4% to $2.297 per million British thermal units.