NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices rose on Friday and posted a weekly gain even as uncertainty about Greece and euro zone debt problems blunted a rally after the U.S. October jobs report encouraged some investors.
Brent posted a stronger gain for the session, but U.S. crude still settled at its highest close since August 1.
Market volatility was attributed to uncertainty as Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou faces a vote of confidence in parliament later on Friday that could decide the fate of the bailout deal.
Investors found comfort on Thursday when Greece backed away from plans to hold a referendum on an EU/IMF bailout and from Friday’s news that Italy agreed to have the IMF and the EU monitor its reform progress.
Subsequently, oil and equities prices felt pressure after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said hardly any G20 countries have said they will participate in the European Union’s bailout fund.
Oil rallied briefly on news that U.S. nonfarm payrolls rose in October, though less than expected. Some investors were encouraged by a drop in the unemployment rate to a six-month low of 9.0 percent and upward revisions to job gains in prior months.
“The October jobs report, though below expectations, contains an upward revision ... so it’s really not bad at all,” said Gene McGillian, analyst at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.
“And even though the G20 did not put out any additional money to beef up the euro zone rescue fund, their actions and those of the leaders in Europe appear to show that the region is going to push away from the edge of disaster,” McGillian said.
ICE Brent December crude rose $1.14 to settle at $111.97, closing above its 100-day moving average of $111.13 after swinging from $110.30 to $112.30. Brent posted a second consecutive weekly gain, up 1.87 percent.
U.S. December crude rose 20 cents to $94.27 a barrel, off a $92.87 low but back below the $94.84 200-day moving average, after reaching $94.93. It was up 1 percent from last Friday, a fifth straight weekly rise.
Brent’s premium to its U.S. counterpart strengthened, moving back above $17 a barrel.
Crude trading volumes were light, with Brent 25 percent below its 30-day average and U.S. crude 31 percent below its 30-day average. Both were under a half million lots traded.
U.S. heating oil and U.S. gasoline also closed higher, with stronger percentage gains than U.S. crude.
Diesel fuel purchases by China’s top refiners to cover domestic shortages was a factor supporting U.S. heating oil and Brent, according to sources.
Investors continued to eye the saga of bankrupt broker MF Global as its customers start to move positions held prior to the Chapter 11 declaration this week.
Speculators trimmed their net long position in U.S. crude oil and options positions in the week to November 1, pulling back from a four-month high hit the previous week, according to U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data released on Friday, during post-settlement trading.
A stronger U.S. dollar was not enough to weigh down dollar-denominated oil prices.
Global stocks and the euro fell on the doubts about Europe’s bailout package while investors awaited the key vote in Greece that overshadowed signs of improvement in a U.S. jobs report. The euro was on pace for its largest weekly loss against the dollar since mid-September.
Copper, a key industrial metal, eased as demand prospects dimmed with the doubts about Europe and with the U.S. job report unable to offset the gloom about Europe.
Additional reporting by Gene Ramos in New York, Zaida Espana in London and Manash Goswami and Jane Lee in Singapore; Editing by David Gregorio