Oil futures rose over $113 a barrel on Thursday before a speech by the U.S. Federal Reserve chairman that may indicate the prospects for more economic stimulus, while investors looked to forthcoming data to shed light on the direction he could take.
Investors will look for any hint of a third round of quantitative easing in a speech by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke at a meeting of central bankers and economists in Jackson Hole, Wyoming on Friday.
Brent crude for October delivery rose 71 cents to $113.25 a barrel by 0949 GMT. U.S. crude slipped for a second session, down 11 cents to $95.38.
“Things are quite balanced at the moment. The Jackson Hole meeting might be a reason for the consolidation right now,” said Eugen Weinberg, an oil analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt.
“There are expectations that there could be something announced but likely not. Though clarity would be good.”
Weekly jobless claims, the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) and factory figures expected later on Thursday and on Friday could provide hints at the health of the largest crude buyer’s economy, Weinberg added.
The U.S. economy fared slightly better than expected in the second quarter, but the pace of growth remained too slow to shut the door on further monetary easing. Gross domestic product expanded at a 1.7 percent annual rate.
“The Fed is likely to sustain its rhetoric to support the economy for as long as it can,” Deutsche Bank analysts said in a note. Chances of more stimulus measures are slim as the U.S. presidential elections draw closer, they said.
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