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Crude rises to highest level in over two years

04 april 2011, 10:39
0
©RIA Novosti
©RIA Novosti
Crude prices hit fresh two-and-a-half-year highs in Asian trade on Monday as a jump in US jobs creation inspired traders, analysts said, AFP reports.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in May, rose 72 cents to $108.66 per barrel, topping Friday's peak of $107.93 and hitting its highest level since late September 2008.

Brent North Sea crude for May delivery advanced 40 cents to $119.10.

A strong showing in US jobs creation for March was leading crude prices higher, said Ben Westmore, minerals and energy economist for National Australia Bank in Melbourne.

"It seems to be demand factors that are causing the rise in prices.... In particular the non-farm payrolls number which was about 216,000 jobs in March which caused a slight fall in the unemployment rate," he told AFP.

"I would say the fall in the unemployment rate wasn't expected by the market so it probably gave a little extra upward impetus to oil prices," Westmore stated.

Statistics released by the US Labor Department late Friday showed unemployment in the world's biggest oil consumer at 8.8 percent in March.

"Since November 2010, the jobless rate has declined by 1.0 percentage point," the government agency noted in its press release.

Westmore said traders had over the past few sessions already priced in supply disruptions due to the ongoing Libyan conflict, but warned that crude prices could spike higher should the conflict spread to surrounding nations.

"The important thing going forward is any news on the spread of the conflicts to other countries. That would be the thing that is not yet reflected in prices and would cause prices to push higher," he said.

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