Oil prices rose above $61 a barrel on Friday as the head of the U.S. Federal Reserve said it would “act as appropriate” to sustain an economic expansion that has been pressured by uncertainty over global trade, APA reports quoting Reuters.
Global benchmark Brent crude was up 60 cents, or 1%, at $61.59 a barrel by 12:23 a.m. CDT (1723 GMT), while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was 39 cents, or 0.69%, higher at $56.69.
Both benchmarks had declined earlier on concerns over slipping U.S. job growth and continued U.S.-China trade tensions, despite recent diplomatic progress.
The Federal Reserve has an obligation “to use our tools to support the economy, and that’s what we’ll continue to do,” Fed Chair Jerome Powell said at the University of Zurich, in comments ahead of the central bank’s mid-September policy meeting. The Fed cut rates by a quarter of a percentage point in July.
Crude prices “are working back up right now,” said Bill Baruch, president at Blue Line Futures LLC in Chicago. Comments by Powell that indicate further interest rate reductions are one factor that would help keep “a bid in the market ahead of the weekend.”
Oil prices had fallen earlier in the session as U.S. government data showed the nation’s job growth slowed in August for the seventh month in a row, with nonfarm payrolls expanding by 130,000, about 28,000 less than economists polled by Reuters had forecast.
Global oil demand could grow by just 900,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2019 and 2020, UBS oil analyst Giovanni Staunovo said in a note analyzing oil market trends.
Other forecasts of oil demand growth have been reduced to around 1 million bpd, down from earlier predictions of about 1.3 million bpd, analysts said.