NEW YORK (DTN) — New York Mercantile Exchange oil futures moved higher at the start of regular trade this morning, rising in a relief rally for equities after Greek lawmakers reached a deal on austerity measures that will allow Athens to get a seco
nd bailout package needed to avoid a chaotic default on its debt.
The broader market was also boosted by a Labor Department report showing U.S. initial jobless claims dropped 15,000 to 358,000 in the week-ended Feb. 4. Market consensus called for 370,000 claims for the week, with the decline offering further evidence the labor market is improving which augers well for gasoline demand going forward.
U.S. stock futures reversed higher after the jobs report, and the upside was further boosted by reports from Athens saying Greek leaders have reached a tentative agreement on new spending cuts demanded by creditors to release a $173 billion bailout.
The euro rose to a fresh two-month high against the dollar as risk trade accelerated. The dollar is considered a safe asset and investors use oil to hedge against the greenback. A weaker dollar is bullish for oil futures.
Meantime, the upside for oil prices was also supported by freezing weather in Europe that is boosting heating demand and concerns over supply disruptions in South Sudan and Canada.
Rising tension between Iran and the West also remains an issue of concern to many traders of ICE Brent futures while refinery outages boosted NYMEX products futures
At the 9:00 AM ET NYMEX opening bell, March crude futures were up 80cts at $99.51 bbl, and have since traded to a session high of $100.03.
NYMEX March heating oil futures opened up 0.42cts at $3.1937 gal after inside trade. March RBOB futures opened 2.76cts higher at $3.0028 gal and have since posted a better than five-month spot high at $3.0091.