Crude-oil futures gained Friday following a slump that left both New York-traded oil and London’s Brent crude at their lowest settlements in months.
Light, sweet crude futures for delivery in September rose $1.77, or 1.9%, to settle at $97.35 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On the week, however, oil futures declined 0.3%, its fourth consecutive weekly decline.
October Brent crude on London’s ICE Futures exchange , the new front-month contract, rose $1.46, or 1.4%, to $103.53 a barrel.
Nymex oil ended at its lowest since Jan. 21, while Brent notched its lowest settlement since June 26, 2013. On the week, Brent declined 2%, down for two of the past three weeks.
Weaker-than-expected euro-zone economic-growth data, conciliatory talk from Russian President Vladimir Putin, reports that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki would step down and the reopening by Libya reopening its largest export port have all added to negative sentiment for oil, analysts said.
Crude “is trying to muster a bounce into the weekend. It’s looking a rather lackluster one, however, as the themes of this week — lower demand expectations and easing supply fears relating to geopolitical tension in Libya, Iraq — continue to be present,” said Matt Smith, a commodity analyst with Schneider Electric.
Moreover, weak supply-demand fundamentals are keeping Brent in a contango structure — where the front-month contract is cheaper than future contracts — triggering demand for floating storage, traders said.
Meanwhile, Nymex reformulated gasoline blendstock for September rose 3 cents, or 1.2%, to $2.6886 a gallon, but down 2% on the week. September heating oil rose nearly 3 cents, or 1%, to $2.8480 a gallon on Nymex, off 1% on the week.
Natural gas for September delivery retreated 13 cents, or 3.3%, to $3.7760 per million British thermal units. On the week, the commodity lost 4.7%, its largest weekly decline in a month.
On Thursday, a weekly supply report on U.S. natural-gas supplies showed a smaller-than-expected increase in inventories, sending prices 2% higher.