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Crude oil rises on Middle East supply worries

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Investing.com -

Investing.com - Crude oil futures were higher on Friday, amid fresh concerns over supply disruptions in Libya and Iraq, while markets eyed an upcoming report on U.S. employment.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, U.S. crude oil for delivery in April traded $0.20 or 0.38% higher to $50.96 a barrel during European early afternoon trade.

Prices plunged $0.77 or 1.49% on Thursday to settle at $50.76.

Futures were likely to find support at $49.60, the low from March 4 and resistance at $52.49, the high from February 20.

Crude prices strengthened as fighting escalated in northeast Iraq where Islamic State militants have set fire to oilfields, while in Libya, worsening security conditions have led to the closure of 11 oilfields.

The commodity had lost ground on Thursday on the back of a stronger dollar after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi confirmed that the ECB will begin purchasing euro zone government bonds on March 9 under its new quantitative easing program.

The combined monthly asset purchases will amount to €60 billion per month and is expected to run until September 2016, or until the ECB sees that inflation is on a "sustained path" to its target of close to, but below, 2% in the medium term.

Dollar-denominated oil futures contracts tend to fall when the dollar rises, as this makes oil more expensive for buyers in other currencies.

Traders now awaited the release of the latest U.S. nonfarm payrolls report later Friday, for further indications on the strength of the recovery in the labor market.

Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil for April delivery jumped $0.66, or 1.08%, to hit $61.14 a barrel, with the spread between the Brent and the WTI crude contracts stranding at $10.18.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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