A combination of bearish economic events is weighing on crude oil futures on Friday, putting the markets in a position to finish the week lower. The central theme driving prices lower is a global economic slowdown. Contributing to selling pressure is widespread weakness in the Euro Zone, China and the United States.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate and international-benchmark Brent crude oil began Friday’s session under pressure due to a dovish European Central Bank and weak trade balance data from China, however, the selling accelerated after the U.S. Non-Farm Payrolls report badly missed the forecasts.
Crude oil futures are extending earlier losses on Friday after U.S. government data showed the economy added just 20,000 jobs in February, compared with estimates for a gain of 180,000 positions. Somewhat offsetting the news was a drop in the unemployment rate to 3.8 percent. Average hourly earnings were another positive, increasing by 3.4 percent on year over year.
Keeping a lid on prices are concerns that rising U.S. crude oil production is likely to outweigh the OPEC-led supply cuts that have been underpinning the markets since the first of the year. OPEC and its allies have been cutting production by 1.2 million barrels per day since January 1,…