Crude falls as Libya, rebels agree to open oil ports


Shutterstock photo - - Crude futures dropped on Monday after Libya and rebels agreed to end a standoff that left oil ports closed for eight months.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude oil for delivery in May traded at $100.02 a barrel during U.S. trading, down 1.11%. New York-traded oil futures hit a session low of $99.95 a barrel and a high of $101.32 a barrel.

The May contract settled up 0.85% at $101.14 a barrel on Friday.

Nymex oil futures were likely to find support at $98.87 a barrel, Wednesday's low, and resistance at $101.62 a barrel, Friday's high.

Libyan government officials and rebels reached an agreement over the weekend to re-open Zueitina and Hariga ports, which normally export a combined total of 200,000 barrels a day, mostly to Europe.

The news sent oil prices falling, as the end to the standoff will increase global supply.

Friday's U.S. jobs report cushioned losses somewhat.

The Department of Labor reported Friday that the U.S. economy added 192,000 jobs in March, missing expectations for a 200,000 increase.

Still, February's figure was revised up to a 197,000 rise from a previously estimated 175,000 increase, while January's figure rose to 144,000 from 129,000.

The private sector added 192,000 jobs last month, below expectations for a 195,000 rise, while February's figure was revised up to 188,000 jobs added from a previously estimated 162,000 increase.

The report also showed that the U.S. unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.7% last month compared to expectations for a 6.6% reading.

While not earth shattering, the numbers still depicted a U.S. economy that continues to improve and will demand more fuel and energy going forward.

Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil futures for May delivery were down 1.45%, trading at US$105.18 a barrel, while the spread between the Brent and U.S. crude contracts stood at US$5.16 a barrel. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.
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