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Crude Oil Futures Settle Sharply Lower


Crude oil prices fell sharply on Friday amid concerns about the outlook for fuel demand with investors weighing the prospects of a recession.

The dollar’s surge after data showed stronger than expected jobs growth in the month of December weighed as well on oil prices.

The dollar index climbed to 102.90, gaining more than 1.1%.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March ended lower by $2.49 or about 3.3% at $73.39 a barrel.

Brent crude futures dropped $2.37 or about 2.9% to $79.80 a barrel.

Both WTI crude futures and Brent Crude futures lost more than 7% in the week.

The Labor Department’s closely watched monthly jobs report said non-farm payroll employment soared by 517,000 jobs in January after surging by an upwardly revised 260,000 jobs in December.

The report also said the unemployment rate edged down to 3.4% in January from 3.5% in December. The dip surprised economists, who had expected the unemployment rate to inch up to 3.6%.

A report from Baker Hughes said the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil declined for the third successive week, falling by 10 to 599 this week.

The total active U.S. rig count, which includes those drilling for natural gas, fell by 12 to 759, according to the report.

Ratings agency Fitch Solutions has reiterated its Brent crude price forecast for this year at $95 per barrel, citing China’s earlier-than-expected easing of COVID-19 containment measures and continued production restraint by OPEC+.

Oil falls about 3% as strong U.S. jobs data prompt interest rate concerns

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