Global Crude Oil Futures Witness Mixed Trade
Oil rig pumpjacks, or thirsty birds, extract crude from the Wilmington oil field, in California, US.Reuters

Global crude-oil futures rose on 10 January even as downbeat US labour market data raised concerns about the energy-demand outlook in the world's leading oil consumer.

For the week as a whole, futures witnessed mixed trade.

February US crude oil contract gained $1.06, or 1.2%, to finish at $92.72 a barrel on 10 January and prices fell 1.3% for the week.

February Brent crude oil contract added 86 cents, or 0.8%, to finish at $107.25 a barrel on 10 January and prices inched up 0.3% for the week.

The US unemployment rate dropped to 6.7% in December and 74,000 jobs were added to the world's largest economy, according to official figures.

The much weaker-than-expected jobs figures fuelled speculation that the Federal Reserve could ease the pace of its monetary stimulus taper this year.

The Fed's asset buying programme has offered support to oil prices.

Earlier, China oil-import data, released on 10 January, lent support to oil prices. The world's second-largest crude oil importer purchased a record-high 6.3 million barrels a day in December, and The Wall Street Journal estimated the rate at 13.7% higher than in November.

China's trade surplus increased by 12.8% to $259.8bn in 2013.
- General Administration of Customs

In addition, data from China also showed that exports increased by 7.9% to $2.21tn in 2013, while imports increased by 7.3% to $1.95tn. The nation's trade surplus increased by 12.8% to $259.8bn over the preceding year.

Matt Parry, senior oil analyst at the International Energy Agency in Paris told MarketWatch: "Oil prices gained momentum as the markets shrugged off the disappointing US jobs report, instead preferring to take direction from the drop in the US unemployment rate to its lowest level in five years."

Jonathan Citrin, founder and executive chairman at CitrinGroup said: "For oil, you have to remember that a poor US jobs report translates to a slower expected taper, which in turn converts to more Fed stimulus for longer."

"With so many factors playing on each other, the reaction to a worse-than-expected US jobs report in the oil market exemplifies a domino effect that can change direction very quickly. It is what sent the dollar down along with stocks in trading, while pushing gold and oil higher," Citrin added.

al-Qaida Violence

Earlier, oil industry analysts voiced concern that al-Qaida violence in Iraq's troubled Anbar province could cause pipelines and other facilities' security issues.

While Iraq's oil industry and its foreign investors have tried to calm market participants by highlighting that the Anbar province is far away from the main oilfields, analysts have become cautious over longer-term risks.

Libya Crisis

Armed groups demanding regional autonomy for eastern Libya, and a lion's share of Libya's oil income, invited foreign companies to purchase oil from ports they now control.

In an announcement on 7 January, the groups promised to protect tankers loading crude, even after the Libyan defence ministry said it would destroy ships using ports in the east, seized by protesters led by tribal leader and 2011 civil war hero Ibrahim Jathran.