By Barani Krishnan
Investing.com – Crude prices dipped Friday as longs in the market took some profit after a four day run-up, but the week was still a big one for oil bulls enthused by OPEC’s decision to raise output in a market still troubled by the impact of Covid variants on the global economy.
An underwhelming U.S. jobs report for December — with just 199,000 positions being added versus expectations for 450,000 — also weighed on the latest trading session in oil, although the country itself was near the Federal Reserve’s definition of “maximum employment” with a jobless rate just shy of 4%.
“While optimism is high that the Omicron variant’s impact on the crude demand outlook will be short-lived, it is too early to be optimistic that the worst of this wave is over,” said Ed Moya, analyst at online trading platform OANDA. “With the US still seeing parts of the country struggling with hospitalizations and Germany considering fresh curbs, and as China continues to resort to harsh lockdowns, the short-term demand outlook still has a handful of headwinds.”
But while that may be the case, global producer alliance OPEC+ was also keeping a tight leash on output despite agreeing to a 400,000-barrel-per-day increase for February — a trend it has kept to since August as demand for crude returned to pre-pandemic levels.
“The oil market remains very tight and that should remain the case for the first half of the year as the growth outlook across the U.S. and Europe remains very strong,” Moya added.
, the benchmark for U.S. crude, settled down 56 cents, or 0.7%, on the day at $78.90 per barrel. For the week, WTI rose just over 5%, gaining for a third straight week in a rally that has delivered about 10% in all.
London-traded , the global benchmark for oil, slipped 24 cents, or 0.3%, to settle Friday at $81.75. For the week, Brent rose more than 5%, also rising for a third week in a row in a run-up that has delivered about 10% in all.
Aside from confidence over OPEC+s market maneuvers, oil prices were also boosted this week by geopolitical risk over the crisis developing in Kazakhstan.
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