The price of oil rose above $93 a barrel on Monday at the start of a big week for economic data, culminating in Friday’s U.S. nonfarm payrolls report for May.
Benchmark oil for July delivery rose $1.48 to close at $93.45 a barrel in New York.
Lately, subpar economic indicators have actually prompted some buying of oil, because the weaker the economy, the less likely the Federal Reserve is to begin lifting the stimulus measures it has in place. Monday was no different after a weaker-than-expected report on U.S. manufacturing, said Jim Ritterbusch, president of energy consultancy Ritterbusch and Associates.
“Markets such as the equities and oil are interpreting data releases below expectations as a signal that the Fed will delay any tightening measures,” Ritterbusch wrote in a note to clients.
A measure of U.S. manufacturing fell in May to its lowest level since June 2009. The Institute for Supply Management said Monday that its index of manufacturing activity fell to 49 last month from 50.7 in April. A reading under 50 indicates contraction.
But most automakers posted strong sales for May, which could give a boost to sluggish gasoline demand.
Conflicting Chinese figures left investors uncertain over the state of the world’s second-largest economy. Though the official manufacturing purchasing managers index, a gauge of activity, rose to 50.8 in May from 50.6 the previous month, an equivalent survey from HSBC fell to 49.2 from 50.4. Anything above 50 indicates expansion.
However, a survey for the 17 European Union countries that use the euro offered some hope for the future of the eurozone economy. The monthly manufacturing PMI from financial information company Markit rose to 48.3 points in May from the initial estimate of 47.8.
Brent crude, a benchmark for pricing oil used by many U.S. refineries to make gasoline, gained $1.67 to finish at $102.06 on the ICE Futures exchange in London on Monday.
Pump prices in the U.S. remained at $3.62 a gallon. That’s down 1 cent from a week ago, but 3 cents higher than at this time last year.
In other energy futures trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange:
- Wholesale gasoline added 3 cents to end at $2.79 a gallon.
- Heating oil rose 5 cents to finish at $2.83 per gallon.
- Natural gas advanced by about a cent to end at $3.99 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Meanwhile, gold and silver futures ended higher Monday, recovering the ground they lost Friday.
The actively traded August contract for gold rose $18.90 to $1,411.90 an ounce, a gain of 1.4 percent. Silver for July delivery rose 47.8 cents to $22.72 an ounce.
Other metals prices also rose.
July platinum rose $35.60 to $1,497.40 an ounce, September palladium rose $5.40 to $759.05 an ounce and July copper rose 3.8 cents to $3.3305 a pound.
In agricultural futures trading, corn for July delivery fell 6.25 cents to $6.5575 a bushel, a loss of 0.9 percent.
Soybeans for delivery in the same month rose 22.5 cents to $15.325 a bushel. July wheat rose 3.25 cents to $7.0875 a bushel.