West Texas Intermediate crude rebounded after the biggest drop in two months as fewer Americans than projected filed applications for unemployment benefits last week. Brent advanced.
Prices rose for the first time in three days, following gains in U.S. equities. Jobless claims declined to the least since November, the Labor Department said. Crude also climbed as the euro strengthened to a two-month high against the dollar. Brent increased as President Barack Obama said the U.S. and its allies will keep raising pressure on Russia to back down in Ukraine. WTI dropped as much as 1.3 percent earlier on concern that weaker demand is boosting U.S. inventories.
“The jobless report is driving up the stock market and oil,” said Tom Finlon, Jupiter, Florida-based director of Energy Analytics Group LLC. “A weak dollar makes for a stronger market. I don’t see oil going below $100. The Ukraine crisis is not over yet.”
WTI for April delivery rose 11 cents to settle at $101.56 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The volume of all futures traded was about 42 percent more than the 100-day average. Prices dropped 1.8 percent yesterday, the most since Jan. 2.
Brent for April settlement climbed 34 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $108.10 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Volume was 33 percent above the 100-day average. The European benchmark crude was at a premium of $6.54 to WTI. The spread ended yesterday’s session at $6.31.