U.S. oil prices waver near USD100 ahead of Yellen


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Investing.com -

Investing.com - U.S. oil futures held near USD100-a-barrel on Monday, as investors were awaiting Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen's testimony on the bank's semiannual monetary policy report later this week.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in March hit USD100.44 a barrel, the most since December 27, before trimming gains USD100.01 a barrel during U.S. morning hours, down 0.45%.

WTI oil prices rallied 2.09% on Friday to settle at USD99.88 a barrel.

Nymex oil futures were likely to find support at USD97.13 a barrel, the low from February 7 and resistance at USD100.75 a barrel, the high from December 27.

Mixed U.S. employment data released Friday forced investors to recalibrate their assumptions about the future course of the Federal Reserve's monetary policy.

The U.S. economy added 113,000 jobs in January, well below expectations for jobs growth of 185,000, after December's lackluster gain of 75,000 jobs.

It was the weakest two-month stretch of job creation in three years as inclement weather contributed to a slowdown in hiring.

Yet the report also showed that the number of people participating in the labor force edged up to 63% from a 30-year low of 62.8% last month, while the unemployment rate unexpectedly ticked down to a five year low 6.6% from 6.7% in December.

The Fed tapered its monthly asset purchase program by another USD10 billion to USD65 billion a month at its last policy meeting.

Data from the Commodities Futures Trading Commission released Friday showed that hedge funds and money managers increased their bullish bets in oil futures in the week ending February 4.

Net longs totaled 275,931 contracts, compared to 260,282 in the preceding week.

Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil futures for March delivery shed 0.35% to trade at USD109.18 a barrel, while the spread between the Brent and U.S. crude contracts stood at USD9.17 a barrel.

The London-traded Brent contract rallied to a session high of USD109.75 a barrel earlier, the strongest level since January 2, amid concerns over declining output from the Buzzard oilfield in the North Sea.

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This article appears in: Investing Forex and Currencies
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