Brent for May settlement slipped 4 cents to $107.43 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange after falling to $106.90 last Friday, the weakest intraday level since December 7. Bloomberg report showed that the volume of all futures traded was 12 percent below the 100-day average for the time of day.
West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose Friday, narrowing its discount versus Brent to the lowest level in two months, as the euro strengthened against the dollar and data showed the U.S. economy is improving.
“Oil is rising because the euro is stronger and there is optimism that Europe and Cyprus will reach a last-minute deal,” said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at the Price Futures Group in Chicago. “When you are worried about the European economy, you are not going to see Brent get stronger.”
WTI climbed as much as 0.8 percent and the euro increased from near a four-month low as Cypriot lawmakers begin a debate on legislation to unlock the rescue funds needed to prevent a financial collapse. Fewer Americans than forecast filed jobless claims last week, the Labor Department said yesterday. Brent traded near a three-month low as German business confidence unexpectedly fell.
WTI for May delivery gained 46 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $92.91 a barrel at 9:53 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange.