WASHINGTON (Alliance News) - Crude oil prices are notably lower Thursday morning amid easing worries about supply disruptions from Libya. Also, Iraqi oil fields in the south have been spared, as sectarian violence appears to be contained to the north and west of the country.
Meanwhile, investors are looking ahead to the crucial US monthly jobs data.
Crude oil futures for August delivery are down USD0.70 or 0.67% at USD103.78 a barrel, a three-week low.
On Wednesday, crude oil futures ended down USD0.86 or 0.8% at USD104.48 a barrel, extending losses to a fifth day, despite a report from the US Energy Information Administration showing a decline in crude stockpiles.
Oil prices dropped on reports that Libya will reopen at least two oil terminals that handles almost 50% of the country's shipments. A stronger dollar also contributed to oil's decline.
Meanwhile, natural gas for August is up USD0.009 or 0.22% at USD4.367 per million btu.
The US Labor Department's monthly non-farm payrolls report for June is due at 8:30 am ET. Economists expect an addition of 211,000 jobs for the month, while the jobless rate is expected to remain unchanged at 6.3%.
The Labor Department will also release its jobless claims report for the week ended June 28th. The consensus estimate calls for a rise in jobless claims to 314,000 from 312,000 in the previous week.
Around the same time, the Commerce Department is scheduled to release its trade balance report for May. Economists expect the trade deficit to have narrowed to USD45.1 billion from USD47.2 billion in the previous month.
Later in the morning, at 9:45 am ET, Markit will release the final results of its non-manufacturing survey for June, and the Institute for Supply Management will come out with the results of its service sector survey at 10 am ET.