AnalysisCrude continues their upside move for the third consecutive week, currently trading above $78 per barrel, supported by rising expectations for a stronger economic recovery in the U.S, which is the largest energy consumer in the world.

Crude oil rose above $78 per barrel after jobless claims declined last week and were better than expected; thus, reflecting improvement in the US Jobs markets, which is expected to support spending levels that make up two thirds of the overall GDP, supporting demand on crude.

Crude contracts for February delivery opened last Friday at $76.55 per barrel, recording its highest at $78.15 per barrel and lowest at $76.20; closing high at $77.75 per barrel.

Last week, crude contracts for February delivery jumped by 3.1%, which is considered to be the biggest gain in over four weeks, supported by the biggest drop in US stockpiles since September. Meanwhile, the drop in US inventories reflects improvement in demand and consumption levels on crude, while expectations are increasing due to the end of the worst credit crisis since World War II; crude inventories are expected to continue falling supporting expectations for crude to end this year around $80 per barrel.

Global financial markets celebrated Christmas holidays last Friday; whereas UK and Canada today continuing the celebration and are out of the market for Boxing Day, which is expected to reflect on the market with the low-volume year-end trading.

Crude opened today at $77.15 per barrel, recording its highest at $78.62 and lowest at $77.14 per barrel; currently trading around $78.15 per barrel.