Perth: Crude oil futures rose above $53 a barrel on Monday, as increased optimism that the worst is over for the US economy helped draw more investments across the energy and commodities complex.
US light crude for May delivery rose 51 cents to $53.02 a barrel at 5:15am. The contract ended 13 cents lower to settle at $52.51 on Friday, as a bounce in Wall Street countered an earlier slide brought by gloomy jobs data.
London Brent crude rose 23 cents to $53.70.
“Markets are having greater optimism about the international economy and that is giving a lift to the commodities markets,” said David Moore, a commodities strategist at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
“The fact that investors had shrugged off the gloomy jobs data on Friday is indicative that the focus has now shifted to a global recovery.”
US stocks rose on Friday, with the Dow closing out its best four-week winning streak since 1933, lifted by robust results from Research in Motion and after Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said the central bank will do everything it can to stabilise banks.
The gains came despite government data showing US employers slashed 663,000 jobs in March, lifting the unemployment rate to a 26-year high of 8.5%. Some analysts said the jobless number came in within expectations and had already been priced in.
Analysts said investors may attempt to push oil towards the $55 mark this week, should US stocks should rally further on signs that the economic slump is abating and if earnings season does not get off to a rocky start.
Oil rose nearly 11% last month and snapped two straight quarters of double-digits decline to rally 9.5% in the first quarter, thanks to a rally in global stock markets and Opec’s production cuts.
Crude oil speculators on the New York Mercantile Exchange decresed net long positions in the week to 31 March, data from the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed on Friday.