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Oil Prices Crash After Perky Jobs Data

Crude oil prices fell on Friday afternoon following reports of strong U.S. jobs data, with WTI crashing by more than 2.5% to $73.88

The U.S. January jobs report indicates that the jobs market is stronger than expected, with employers adding 517,000 in January. This compares to economists that had expected employers had added 185,000 jobs in January.

The unemployment rate in the United States is at 3.4%--the lowest rate since 1969, despite the round of tech layoffs.

The Fed’s aggressive interest rate hikes are not slowing hiring as some would have expected, with fears lingering that this could still lead to a recession. Still, wage growth seemed to slow.

With the ever-looming recession still looming, traders were slow to respond to Friday’s job data. WTI rose $0.55 per barrel to $76.43 (+0.72%) following the report, while Brent rose $0.46 to $82.63 (+0.56%). But prices quickly took a turn for the worse, with WTI falling $2 per barrel by 1:13 pm ET to $73.88 (-2.64%) per barrel. Brent had fallen by nearly the same amount to $80.21 (-2.39%) per barrel.

Both the WTI and Brent benchmarks are set for a sharp weekly decline.

Both benchmarks have slumped about $7 per barrel so far this week, despite signs that China’s crude oil demand could be recovering and the EU’s ban on Russian crude oil product imports, which goes into effect this Sunday.

Oil prices had already fallen earlier in the week as the United States Energy Information Administration data showed major builds in crude oil and crude products inventories, OPEC stuck to its guns and decided there wouldn’t be any changes to its output strategies at this time, and the Federal Reserve raised its target interest rate—and promised to continue those increases.

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By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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  • George Doolittle on February 03 2023 said:
    US Federal Reserve who everyone hates continues to be the one Institution that keeps saving the USA from one disaster after another with that very much obvious to even a grade school observer of monetary policy now given a spectacular start to 2023 the exact opposite to the start of 2022. Nickel prices absolutely annihilated today would be an understatement and not just oil although certainly there is that true dat as well.

    Long US Treasuries strong buy.
    Nothing wrong with select CDs right now as well.

    Silver suddenly on sale again so no interest in gold at the moment or going forward.
  • Mamdouh Salameh on February 03 2023 said:
    With perky economic data from the world’s second largest economy, the United States’ such as a lowest unemployment rate since 1969 and stronger job market, one would expect oil prices to rise.

    So how could prices fall after such good data? There could be another reason for the fall and this reason is definitely not the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA) data showing major builds in crude oil and crude products inventories. How could the EIA data have stronger impact on prices than rising employment in the United States?

    The real reason is, in my opinion, most probably profit taking by global oil traders. The oil prices are headed for a huge surge based on the current fundamentals in the global oil market.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Global Energy Expert

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