Friday, April 29, 2016

Crude oil rally knows no limit

 From @UPI -- Strong recovery for U.S. consumer wages balanced against a slowdown in the European economy, but it was enough for a soft rally Friday for crude oil prices. The U.S. Commerce Department reported personal income and disposable personal income both increased for Americans in March by about 0.4%. That's a rebound from the 0.1% increase reported for both indices in February. The economy slowed during the first quarter, increasing at an annual rate of 0.5% in the United States, down from the 1.4% growth rate in the fourth quarter. The Commerce Department said Friday, however, that wages and salaries in March increased $29.2 billion, against a February contraction of $4.6 billion. Crude oil prices, which have increased steadily during the month of April, again saw gains at the start of trading Friday in New York. The price for Brent crude oil moved up 0.3% to $48.31 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark price for crude oil, gained 0.8% to $46.44 per barrel. Friday's start could face pressure once Baker Hughes releases its weekly tally for rig counts. Any decline would mark the sixth consecutive decline in exploration and production activity in a North American energy sector reporting dwindling output. In Europe, meanwhile, a flash estimate of first quarter gross domestic production showed 0.6% growth for the member states that use the euro currency, down from the 1.6% growth recorded in the first quarter of 2015. The slowdown was more apparent in reported figures on inflation, which turned negative by 0.2% in April, against a flat rate in March. Russia's Central Bank, meanwhile, said it washolding the line by keeping its key rate unchanged at 11%. In a rationale statement, the bank pointed to inflationary pressures and potential risks that oil prices could turn lower in the foreseeable future.


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