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OIL FUTURES: Energy climbs on stimulus hopes, better US jobs data

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OIL FUTURES: Energy climbs on stimulus hopes, better US jobs data

Highlights

Pelosi signals progress on US stimulus talks

US weekly unemployment claims lowest since March

RBOB cracks strengthen

New York — Oil futures settled higher Oct. 22 amid fresh hopes for passage of a US stimulus bill and stronger-than-expected jobs data.

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NYMEX December WTI settled 61 cents higher at $40.64/b and ICE December Brent was up 73 cents at $42.46/b.

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Oct. 22 that the White House and Congressional Democrats are "just about there" on reaching a deal for a second round coronavirus stimulus bill, according to media reports.

"Pelosi's comment indicates more progress has been made, but what is also needed is Senate Majority Leader McConnell's blessing, OANDA senior market analyst Edward Moya said in a note. "The biggest hurdles remain state aid and liability provisions, which means optimism should be minimal."

Still, the comments added to an early morning rally fueled by a better-than-expected US jobs report.

US weekly first time unemployment claims fell to 787,000 in the week ended Oct. 17, the Department of Labor data showed Oct. 22. The unemployment figure was the lowest since the week ended March 14, when pandemic lockdowns first began in earnest across much of the US.

NYMEX November RBOB settled 1.78 cents higher at $1.1581/gal and November ULSD was up 2.08 cents at $1.1607/gal.

The unemployment report offered a bullish counterpoint to a bearish US Energy Information Administration report on Oct. 21 showing US refined products demand moving sharply lower in the week ended Oct. 16.

Total refined products supplied -- EIA's proxy for demand -- slipped 1.36 million b/d at 18.11 million b/d, driven by lowered demand across all product categories, aside from propane.

Gasoline demand was especially weak, falling 290,000 b/d at 8.29 million b/d -- the lowest since the week ended June 12.

Gasoline cracks were testing seven week lows during morning trading, however cracks moved higher later in the day amid renewed stimulus bill optimism. The front-month ICE New York Harbor RBOB crack against Brent was holding at around $5.68/b in afternoon trading, up 18 cents from its morning low.

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