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07.03.2014 16:42

Oil rose

West Texas Intermediate crude rose for a second day after U.S. employers added more workers than projected in February, bolstering optimism about the economy. The WTI-Brent spread narrowed.

Futures increased as much as 1.1 percent in New York. Labor Department figures showed a 175,000 gain in employment. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg projected a 149,000 advance. Futures dropped earlier this week as concern eased that Russia’s incursion into Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula would spark a broader conflict and disrupt energy shipments.

Bloomberg survey estimates of 92 economists for February payrolls ranged from gains of 100,000 to 220,000.

Unemployment rose to 6.7 percent from 6.6 percent as more people entered the labor force and couldn’t find work, the data released today in Washington showed. The unemployment rate was forecast to hold at 6.6 percent in February. The department’s survey of households showed an increase in people entering the labor force, while few of them were able to find work.

U.S. President Barack Obama signed an order authorizing financial sanctions against Russia, while European Union leaders halted trade and visa talks and threatened punitive economic measures in what’s become the worst rift between Russia and the West since the Cold War era. Russia is the world’s largest energy exporter.

The flow of Russian crude through Ukraine to Europe in the southern branch of the Druzhba oil pipeline is uninterrupted, Natalya Kutsik, a spokeswoman for Russia’s oil pipeline operator OAO Transneft, said by text message. The link carried about 300,000 barrels a day last year, according to data from Ukraine’s energy ministry.

WTI for April delivery increased 89 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $102.45 a barrel at 10:40 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices are down 0.1 percent this week. The volume of all futures traded was 2.4 percent above the 100-day average.

Brent for April settlement rose 36 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $108.46 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Trading volume was near the 100-day average. The European benchmark was at a $6.01 premium to WTI, down from $6.54 at yesterday’s close.

 

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