West Texas Intermediate crude headed for the first weekly gain since December amid speculation that U.S. unemployment and manufacturing data signaled the world’s biggest oil consumer will sustain its economic growth.
Futures were little changed in New York and have advanced 1.4 percent since Jan. 10. U.S. jobless claims fell last week to the lowest level since November while a factory index for this month increased, according to separate reports yesterday. Industrial production data for December is due today. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said it pumped the least amount of oil since May 2011.
“Traders await more news on the economy to give us more direction,” Phil Flynn, a senior market analyst at the Price Futures Group in Chicago, said by e-mail today. “The OPEC story of reducing supply slowed the Brent oil retreat.”
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