oil

Brent prices were steady today, but stayed close to their worst drop of the year because of weak US data and rising inventories, which lowered the outlook for demand.

Brent crude was up by five cents at $106.39 a barrel, while US crude fell by ten cents to $93.16 a barrel, reported Reuters.

Data released by the United States showed that manufacturing activity was weaker than expected and private sector hiring was lower than expected, plus higher jobless claims were also discouraging.

A survey conducted by Reuters suggested a 200,000 rise in US jobs in March, down from 236,000 in February.

Prices have also come under pressure due to a rise in US crude inventories to the highest level since 1990.

"A survey conducted by Reuters suggested a 200,000 rise in US jobs in March."

The Bank of Japan‘s move to push nearly $1.4 trillion into the economy in less than two years was also unsuccessful in elevating investor confidence.

Investors are now keeping a close watch on the increasing tensions on the Korean peninsula and a disagreement between Iran and the West regarding Tehran’s controversial nuclear programme.

During a meeting on Friday in the Kazakh city of Almaty, world powers are likely to request that Iran accepts their offer to stop its most sensitive nuclear work, and in turn they will consider easing some economic sanctions.


Image: In the US, manufacturing activity was weaker than expected, while private sector hiring and higher jobless claims were also disappointing. Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos / Michelle Meiklejohn.

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