Brent crude oil traded steadily near $104 on Thursday after positive data chipped away at demand outlook concerns. The commodity traded at $103.75 at 8:14 GMT on Thursday morning. Gains from positive jobs data have been maintained as the rest of the world contributed to an improving demand outlook sentiment.
German industrial output overshot expectations and increased in March which gave investors reason to believe the eurozone's powerhouse economy was getting back on track. CNBC reported on Thursday that Chinese annual consumer inflation rose to 2.4 percent in April, an increase from March's 2.1 percent.
The jump was attributed to higher food costs. Since the figure is more or less in line with the nation's expectations, analysts are expecting the central bank to maintain a neutral policy. On Monday, news that a militant group damaged a pipeline and stopped the flow of crude from Kirkuk to Turkey's port of Ceyhan also gave Brent prices a boost. The damaged pipeline served to underscore the geopolitical tension in the Middle East which has long threatened to interrupt supply.
However, even with an interruption in Iraq's supply, the market is still heavily oversupplied which has kept a ceiling on prices. Many aren't expecting to see the commodity rise above the current price levels because of oversupply. The US Energy Information Administration released data showing that US crude inventories were at record high levels last week and domestic production was accelerating. The EIA reported that commercial domestic crude stockpiles were at their highest level since 1982, the year the agency began to keep records.
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