NEW YORK: Brent crude futures edged up and US crude dipped yesterday in choppy trading as improving British employment data lent support, while a lower economic growth forecast from the IMF limited gains. Offering surprise support to oil were figures showing British unemployment fell for the 10th consecutive quarter at the end of last year and that jobless claims hit their lowest level since mid-2011 in December.
A stubborn eurozone recession and Japan’s weakness will weigh on global economic growth before a rebound in 2014 that should deliver the fastest expansion since 2010, the International Monetary Fund said in its World Economic Outlook, released yesterday. The IMF trimmed its 2013 global growth forecast to 3.5 percent from the 3.6 percent it projected in October, but said it looked for 4.1 percent expansion in 2014.
Brent March crude was up 27 cents at $112.69 a barrel at 11:53 a.m. EST (1653 GMT). Yesterday’s $112.76 session peak was the highest price for front-month Brent since Jan. 10, when news of Saudi Arabia’s recent production cuts lifted prices briefly above $113 a barrel. US March crude was down 25 cents at $96.43 a barrel, having swung from $96.20 to $96.92. Reuters