Crude oil futures gain on lower US unemployment, ECB interest rate cut

02 May 2013 17:34  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--ICE Brent crude oil futures extended gains late on Thursday, rising by more than $2.00/bbl supported by a drop in fresh claims for unemployment benefits and a reduction in the European Central Bank's key interest rate.

By 16:15 GMT, the front-month June ICE Brent contract touched an intra-day high at $102.20/bbl, a gain of $2.25/bbl compared to the previous settlement. The contract then edged lower to trade around $102.00/bbl.

At the same time, the front-month June NYMEX WTI contract was trading around $93.15/bbl, having touched an intra-day high at $92.34/bbl, a gain of $2.31/bbl compared to the previous settlement.

Fresh claims for unemployment benefits in the US dropped to 324,000 claimants last week, the lowest levels since January 2008, according to the US Department of Labor. The decline indicates that the US economy is recovering, although its first quarter GDP result was below expectations.

The European Central Bank slashed its interest rate by 25 basis points to 0.50% on Thursday in a move to encourage higher rates of borrowing and investment to stimulate the ailing eurozone economy.

By: Kawai Wong
+44 20 8652 3214

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