April 4 (Bloomberg) -- West Texas Intermediate crude gained a second day on estimates that a government report will show payrolls increased last month in the U.S., the world’s biggest oil consumer. Brent rose, paring a weekly loss amid concern about Libyan exports.
Futures advanced as much as 1 percent in New York, trimming their first weekly decline in three. U.S. employers probably added 200,000 workers to nonfarm payrolls in March, the most since November, according to a Bloomberg News survey before Labor Department data today. Rebels blocking shipments from Libya’s east said they’re ready to reopen oil ports, signaling a possible recovery in supply from the OPEC nation.
“The most important thing of the day” for the oil market is the nonfarm payrolls data, Hans van Cleef, an energy economist at ABN Amro Bank NV, said by phone from Amsterdam. “The U.S. economy is still doing much better than Europe. A positive surprise would be hopeful for higher oil demand and therefore give some support, at least for WTI.”
WTI for May delivery added as much as 95 cents to $101.24 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, and traded for $101.17 at 12:32 p.m. London time. The contract rose 67 cents to $100.29 yesterday. Prices dropped 0.5 percent this week.
Brent for May settlement rose 46 cents to $106.61 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The contract is down 1.4 percent this week. The European benchmark crude was at a premium of $5.43 to WTI. The spread closed at $5.86 yesterday, widening for the first time in seven days.
Rebels in Libya’s east indicated that four terminals could be reopened in 24 to 48 hours, Sliman Qajam, a member of the government’s energy committee, said in Tripoli yesterday. Production from the holder of Africa’s largest crude reserves fell to 250,000 barrels a day last month from 1.4 million a year earlier because of unrest, Bloomberg surveys of analysts and producers show.
“The Libyan negotiations are one of those geopolitical situations that has a clear and present impact on oil,” said Ric Spooner, a chief strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney. “The capacity is there, it’s just a matter if it’s going to be turned on or off and it can happen quite quickly.”
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will boost crude exports to meet demand from Asian refineries, according to Oil Movements. Shipments are estimated to climb by 10,000 barrels a day to 23.9 million in the four weeks through April 19, the consultant in Halifax, England, said yesterday. Its data excludes Angola and Ecuador.
“The market was pricing a bit of hope that Libya would restart exports, but whether that will be followed by an actual increase in exports is the big question,” said ABN Amro’s van Cleef. “We’ve seen signals earlier they’d restart, but every time something came in between and they weren’t able to.”
WTI may drop next week amid speculation that U.S. crude stockpiles will increase, a separate Bloomberg poll shows. Eighteen of 28 analysts and traders, or 64 percent, predict futures will decline through April 11 while six respondents forecast a price gain.
Crude inventories shrank by 2.4 million barrels to 380.1 million in the seven days ended March 28, the first decrease in 11 weeks, according to the Energy Information Administration, the Energy Department’s statistical arm.