Brent seesaws after boost by US data

2011-10-07 17:55

New York - Brent crude prices seesawed near unchanged on Friday, having turned higher on supportive US jobs figures until recognition that much of the improvement was due to returning striking workers limited gains.

US crude futures also turned higher after the jobs report and clung to gains in choppy trading near midday in New York as both crude contracts remained on pace to post weekly gains.

Nonfarm payrolls in the United States rose by 103 000 in September, versus forecasts for 60 000, and job gains for the prior months were revised higher.

But part of the strength of September’s jobs number reflected the return of 45 000 Verizon Communications workers who had dropped off payrolls in August due to a strike. Excluding those workers, payrolls increased by 58 000, just missing expectations.

“The market rallied on the positive number, but if you eliminate the Verizon workers returning you get additions much closer to expectations,” said Gene McGillian, an analyst at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.

“And after this week’s correction higher you may be seeing some stalling because there still is uncertainty about economic growth going forward,” McGillian said.

Brent crude for November edged up 6 cents to $105.79 a barrel in New York morning trade, having swung between $104.43 and $106.64. US November crude rose 46c to $83.05 a barrel, having traded between $81.79 and $84.

Both Brent and US crude posted strong gains the previous two sessions, supported on Thursday by plans to shore up the region’s banks from the Bank of England and the European Central Bank.

“If you flood the market with liquidity, that liquidity has got to go somewhere,” said Michael Hewson, an analyst at CMC Markets. “(The moves by the two central banks) have made people think it’s only a matter of time before the Fed follows suit. I think they could be waiting a long time for that to happen.”

Oil recovered from lows on Friday after being pressured when Moody’s cut its ratings on British banks Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland, and said that the British government would have to continue to support the country’s systemically important financial institutions.