Crude Oil Futures Close Modestly Higher

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Despite concerns about an escalation in tensions between the U.S. and China, crude oil prices edged higher on Friday, as stronger-than-expected economic data from Europe and the U.S. helped ease worries about energy demand outlook a bit.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for September ended higher by $0.22 or about 0.5% at $41.29 a barrel. Oil futures gained about 1.3% in the week.

Brent crude futures edged up $0.03 to $43.34 a barrel.

U.S. business activity increased to a six-month high in July, snapping five straight months of contractions. The report from IHS Markit said the flash U.S. Composite PMI Output Index, which tracks the manufacturing and services sectors, rose to a reading of 50.0 this month from 47.9 in June. The increase ended five straight monthly contractions.

The survey’s flash composite new orders index slipped to a reading of 49.5 this month from 49.9 in June.

Its services sector flash PMI increased to 49.6 from a reading of 47.9 in June as service industry firms reported a faster pace of decline in new orders in July.

Factory activity rebounded this month, with the flash manufacturing PMI increasing to a six-month high of 51.3 from a reading of 49.8 in June. Economists had expected the reading to come in at 51.5 in July.

The euro area private sector grew at the fastest pace in just over two years in July due to the relaxation of the coronavirus containment measures, flash survey data from IHS Markit showed. The composite output index rose to a 25-month high of 54.8 from 48.5 in June. This was also above economists’ forecast of 51.1.

The flash services Purchasing Managers’ Index advanced to 55.1 from 48.3 in June. The expected reading was 51.0. The flash manufacturing PMI came in at 51.1 versus 47.4 in June and forecast of 50.0.


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