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Oil prices up on strong U.S. jobs data, Venezuela sanctions
Oil prices rose more than 1 percent on Friday, after upbeat U.S. jobs data strengthened expectations for higher fuel demand and on signs that U.S. sanctions on Venezuelan exports have helped tighten supply.
Brent crude oil futures rose $1.21 a barrel, or 2 percent, to $62.05 a barrel by 11:34 a.m. EST (1634 GMT). The international benchmark was on track for a weekly gain of about 0.6 percent.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were at $54.65, up 86 cents or 1.6 percent. WTI was headed for a weekly gain of nearly 2 percent.
Oil prices got a boost from Wall Street after surprisingly strong U.S. job growth data fed demand for equities.
Washington imposed sanctions on Venezuela`s Petróleos de Venezuela SA this week, keeping tankers stuck at ports. On Friday, the U.S. Treasury Department provided details.
"We are beginning to see the impact to crude supplies from the sanctions on Venezuela. It has driven up domestic crude prices, cutting into refiner margins," Andrew Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates in Houston, said.
"That, combined with Saudi cuts and Libyan production declines has changed market sentiment as we appear to be moving towards a better balanced supply situation."
Some U.S. refiners have begun reducing crude processing as the sanctions have boosted oil costs and as gasoline margins crashed to their lowest in nearly a decade, market sources told Reuters on Thursday.
In January, Saudi Arabia pumped 350,000 bpd less than in December, a Reuters survey showed. Supply in November had hit a record-high 11 million bpd.
Of the three OPEC members exempted from making voluntary cuts, Libyan production fell the most as unrest kept the country`s biggest oilfield, Sharara, offline for a month.
Financial markets also gained support from comments on Twitter by U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday, saying he would meet Chinese President Xi Jinping soon to try to resolve a trade standoff. But Trump later warned he could postpone talks if a deal remains elusive. [nL3N1ZV6YD
China`s trade delegation said the latest round of talks with the United States made "important progress", state news agency Xinhua reported.
"Many traders recognise that sense is likely to prevail and a deal will be struck after the summit - although the shape of any deal will continue to drive a jittery market," Cantor Fitzgerald Europe said in a note.
But a survey showed China`s factory activity shrank by the most in almost three years in January, reinforcing fears a deeper slowdown in the world`s second-largest economy could hit fuel demand.
Analysts believe the oil market will be more balanced in 2019 after supply cuts from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). But U.S. output is the highest on record, raising expectations of abundant supply.
U.S. crude production rose to a new high of 11.9 million barrels per day in November, the Energy Information Administration said on Thursday.
General Electric Co`s Baker Hughes energy services firm is set to release weekly U.S. rig count data on Friday at 1 p.m. EST (1800 GMT).
(This article has not been edited by Zeebiz editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
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