Futures Market News
Crude oil futures drop after poor March jobs report in the U.S.
Apr 09, 2012 12:36 PM
As a delayed reaction to the April 6 employment report released by the U.S. Department of Labor, the price of crude oil fell as much as 2.4 percent. Released on Good Friday, when markets were closed, the jobs report noted a net of 120,000 employment opportunities were created, which is markedly lower than the 205,000 projected by a Bloomberg survey.
Also impacting the price of oil is the ongoing geopolitical situation regarding oil-rich Iran, whose nuclear ambitions have drawn sanctions from western powers. Representatives from the Middle Eastern nation are slated to embark on negotiations with the United Nations Security Council and Germany later this week, which reduces concerns about minimized supplies of the energy commodity.
"Friday's poor jobs numbers are raising concerns with regard to future economic activity," president Stephen Schork with Schork Group in Pennsylvania told Bloomberg. "The jobs number is having an exaggerated impact because we were closed on Friday. When you add the upcoming Iran talks, you have the makings of a big move lower."
At 12:32 p.m. on Monday, crude oil futures fell 1.61 percent, a $1.99 loss to $121.44 per barrel.
Bloomberg noted stock markets in Europe also are closed on Monday, as are markets elsewhere in the world like the South Pacific, South Africa and parts of Asia.
"Volume is very light because markets are shut in Europe, Australia and Hong Kong," analyst and broker Chris Dillman with Tradition Energy in Connecticut told Bloomberg. "This is probably exaggerating the size of moves."
Dow Jones Newswires pointed to the Middle Eastern nation's situation, noting it is the second-largest producer of the member nations of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. The top-producing member nation of OPEC is Saudi Arabia.
The talks, which also include representatives from the U.S., France, the U.K., China and Russia, are set to be the first discussions since January of last year.
Earlier this year, as tensions escalated between Iran and western nations, concerns gained momentum about the likelihood of a military faceoff in the Persian Gulf. That helped drive the price of oil higher amid the fear of reduced production and shipping of the energy commodity.
Amid the pinch applied by sanctions against Iran, disruptions of production have not occurred. Saudi Arabia emerged and noted its ability to compensate for the shortfall and make up for the disruption.
The top official of OPEC noted on Monday that plenty of crude oil is being produced by member nations. High prices, rather, are the cause of political situations.
"OPEC has exerted all it can to produce a quantity of oil that is balancing demand," OPEC president Abdul Kareem Luaiby told reporters in Baghdad, where he serves as the oil minister of Iraq. "Prices are affected more by political instability than by production matters."
MarketWatch reports Istanbul will host the negotiations regarding Iran later this week.
China, host of the world's most rapidly developing economic system, is the globe's second-largest consumer of the energy commodity. Trailing only the U.S. for top consumer of oil, China indicated last month that consumer prices in March increased more than anticipated, according to MarketWatch.
But concerns about the economy of China are augmented by those of the U.S., one brokerage director told Bloomberg.
"Worries about the U.S. economy are coming back with last Friday's employment numbers," Tom Bentz with BNP Paribas Prime Brokerage in New York told Bloomberg. "All of the markets are moving together today on economic worries. A test of $100 looks likely."
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