Oil pares gains after US data deflates expectations of near term rate cut


By Alex Lawler and Natalie Grover

LONDON (Reuters) – Oil pared gains on Friday as demand concerns intensified after strong U.S. jobs data soured hopes of the Federal Reserve cutting interest rates soon.

futures edged up 12 cents to $79.99 a barrel while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 28 cents to $75.83 as of 1328 GMT.

Data on Friday showed U.S. jobs growth accelerated far more than expected in May, keeping the Federal Reserve on track to hold off starting to cut interest rates until September at the earliest.

The data doused expectations that the Federal Reserve would soon follow euro zone and Canadian interest rate cuts.

Major Western economies have imposed high or record-high levels of interest rates for a protracted period to quash inflation.

The high cost of borrowing can slow economic activity and dampen demand for oil.

However, oil prices have been buttressed by support from OPEC+ members Saudi Arabia and Russia, indicating readiness to pause or reverse oil output increases.

Still, crude was headed for its third straight weekly loss on demand concerns, after slipping earlier this week on Sunday’s decision by OPEC+ to phase out some oil output cuts from October and on rising U.S. inventories.

© Reuters. A 3D printed oil pump jack is seen in front of displayed Opec logo in this illustration picture, April 14, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

Another demand concern emanated from China on Friday. Data showed that although exports grew for a second month in May, imports fell. China is the world’s largest crude oil buyer.

“Exports handsomely beat expectations,” said Tamas Varga of oil broker PVM. “But worryingly for oil, overall imports were again down.”