Chinese thirst, United States labor sends oil prices higher early Friday

Chinese thirst, United States labor sends oil prices higher early Friday

Oil prices rose on Friday morning after Chinese data showed that China's crude oil imports rose to the second-highest on record in November, and after US total non-farm payroll employment increased last month. The data will give traders a better picture of whether a global rebalancing is taking place in the oil market.

Rising U.S. output threatens to undermine efforts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and a group of non-OPEC producers, including Russian Federation, to support prices by withholding supplies.

A statement by Kuwait's oil minister that OPEC and other oil producers will study before June next year the possibility of exiting their global oil supply-cut agreement also weighed on prices, traders said.

Brent crude futures, the global benchmark for oil prices, were up 7 cents, or 0.1 percent, at $62.27 a barrel.

"Generally speaking, the market is looking more healthy than sick", said Tamas Varga, analyst with PVM Oil Associates.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil CL1, +1.16% rose 21% to $57.62 a barrel as of December 5 from August 21.

Domestic U.S. output has rebounded by nearly 15% since the most recent low in mid-2016, and increasing drilling activity for new production means output is expected to grow further, as producers are attracted by climbing prices.

Crude futures were buoyed by data showing China's oil imports rose to 9.01 million barrels per day (bpd) last month, the second highest on record, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Friday.

The rally was supported in part by the closure of the Tambar oil field in the North Sea following a fatality reported during regular maintenance on the Maersk Interceptor rig.

Labor numbers from the United States have been held out as signs of robust economic growth.

Rig count data by Baker Hughes later on Friday will likely point the direction in which oil prices will finish this week. A gauge of exploration and production trends, gains, particularly in the United States, could present a headwind for the price of crude oil.

Although Friday saw crude prices escalate despite the fruition of a previously much-feared rise in US production, the analytical community agrees that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has paved the way for another American shale boom in the New Year.



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