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Oil down as OPEC says exports are steady

CommoditiesMay 02, 2013 08:59PM ET
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Investing.com - Oil futures are trading slightly lower in Friday’s Asian as traders take profits and look toward the U.S. non-farm payroll report due out later Friday.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for June delivery fell 0.20% to USD93.81 per barrel in Asian trading Friday after settling up 2.37% at USD93.19 a barrel on Thursday.

Traders had plenty of ammunition with which to propel crude higher Thursday. The European Central Bank cut its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 0.50%. Additionally, ECB President Mario Draghi left the door open to further monetary easing.

Draghi also said the ECB may charge banks to hold excess reserves sent the euro dropping and made gold an attractive hedge. That would translate to negative interest rates, something few nations have experimented with in the past, perhaps boosting the allure of gold in the process.

Riskier assets, including stocks and commodities, also got a lift on the back of some encouraging U.S. economic news.

In U.S. economic news, initial claims for jobless benefits fell by 18,000 to 334,000 last week. That is good for a five-year low. Analysts expected a reading of 345,000 claims. The U.S. Labor Department delivers the April jobs report Friday before the open of U.S. markets and economists are expecting the addition of 145,000 new jobs. The U.S. unemployment rate is currently 7.6%.

Elsewhere, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said it expects few changes to its export levels this month, forecasting shipments of 23.67 million barrels per day through May 18. OPEC is responsible for 40% of global oil production.

Meanwhile, Brent crude for June delivery fell 0.17% to USD102.69 per barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange.

Oil down as OPEC says exports are steady

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