Oil Mixed in Friday Morning Trade

WASHINGTON, D.C. (DTN) -- Nearest delivered New York Mercantile Exchange oil futures and Brent crude on the Intercontinental Exchange moved mixed in early trading Friday following a fifth decline in seven sessions, with a bullish employment report lending tepid upside support as markets reassess the global supply-demand disposition.

The Labor Department reported 263,000 new jobs were created by the U.S. economy in April, well above market expectations for an 185,000 gain in employment, and in line with Wednesday's ADP private payroll report showing 275,000 new jobs last month. The U.S. unemployment rate fell 0.2% to a 3.6% 50-year low in April, while the number of unemployed dropped by 387,000 to 5.8 million.

At 9 a.m. ET, Nymex June West Texas Intermediate futures were up $0.25 near $62.05 per barrel (bbl), while ICE July Brent was flat at $70.75 bbl. Nymex June ULSD futures eased 0.35 cents to near $2.0745 gallon, and June RBOB futures were up 0.55 cents near $2.0240 gallon.

Government supply data released on Wednesday showed U.S. crude inventories climbed to their highest level in more than 19 months last week sparking an aggressive sell-off across oil and products futures. Investors grew cautious about the latest price rally, as U.S. crude production and inventory levels keep rising, while a great deal of uncertainty remains around an extension of OPEC production agreement.

Comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell midweek that the central bank is unlikely to change interest rates this year further triggered declines across the markets. Federal Reserve officials voted unanimously on Wednesday to keep the interest rates steady in the range between 2.25% and 2.5%, dashing hopes of lowering borrowing costs in short-to-near term.

Liubov Georges can be reached at liubov.georges@dtn.com