(MT Newswires) – Crude ended Friday’s session higher, as oil production cuts by Saudi Arabia and declines in Venezuelan output have worn away the balance in surplus that was posted in the fourth quarter of last year. Back home, stockpiles of commercial crude in the US posted a bigger jump than expected last week, growing for a second straight week and coming in line with the five-year average for this time of year, government data showed on Wednesday. Inventories, an indicator of crude production in the world’s biggest economy, rose by 7.2 million barrels in the week through March 29, to 449.5 million barrels, data from the Energy Information Administration showed. A week earlier, the stockpiles increased by 2.8 million barrels. The advance was greater than reports late Tuesday that showed the American Petroleum Institute was expecting an increase of 3 million barrels in the stockpiles. Finally, energy services firm Baker Hughes (BHGE) reported Friday that the average US rig count for March was 1,023, down 26 from the 1,049 counted in February, but up 34 from the 989 counted in March 2018.
Light, sweet crude oil for May delivery rose 5.15% for the week, settling at $63.08 per barrel at the end of Friday’s session. In other energy futures, gasoline was up 4.88% for the week, settling at $1.97 per gallon on Friday. Natural gas fell 0.11% this week at $2.66 per 1 million British thermal unit.
The SummerHaven Dynamic Commodity Index Total Return Index (SDCITR) was 1.62% higher this week, compared with a decline of 0.55% in the previous week.
Gold wrapped up the Friday session with gains, settling at $1,295.60 but closed the week down 0.1%. Gold trended lower as equities turned positive, especially following the March employment report, which came in better than expected at 196,000 jobs, rebounding from 33,000 in the prior month. The total was above the 170,000 estimate pegged by Econoday. The jobless rate was unchanged at 3.8%, near a 50-year low. But fears of a global economic slowdown, as well as geopolitical events, like the UK’s attempts to exit from the European Union, have kept gold’s losses in check. Meanwhile, copper closed Friday’s session at $2.89 per pound, down 1.43% for the week, as reservations over the US-China trade deal remained, despite upbeat progress in negotiations between the two countries. Media reported that, before a meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, US President Donald Trump said a number of tough issues holding back a US-China trade deal had been resolved but differences remain. “Within the next four weeks or maybe less, maybe more, whatever it takes, something very monumental could be announced,” Trump was cited as saying. Meanwhile, copper closed Friday’s session down at $2.89 per pound, falling 1.47% on the week.
In agriculture commodities, grains ended the week lower: corn rose 1.47% in the week and settled at $3.63 per bushel in Friday’s session; wheat climbed 1.85% and settled at $4.68 per bushel at the end of Friday’s session; and soybeans were up 1.67% for the week, and closed Friday in the red at $8.99 per bushel. Other commodities were mixed: sugar had a weekly increase of 1.76% and settled at a price of $1.28 per pound on Friday; coffee was around $0.93 per pound at Friday’s close, down 0.95% for the week; and cocoa was up 5.83% for the week and closed Friday’s session at $2,413 per tonne.
The SummerHaven Dynamic Agriculture Index Total Return Index (SDAITR) was up 1.35% for the week, compared with the prior week’s decline of 1.83%.
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