Weekly Energy Review: Crude Oil Futures Jump to Highest Level Since November 2014

Crude oil futures jumped to their highest since November 2014, picking up 2.4% for the week. June WTI oil settled at $ 69.72/bbl, up $ 1.29, or 1.9%. Baker Hughes on Friday reported that the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil rose by 9 to 834 this week, the fourth consecutive weekly increase. Despite the U.S. shale boom, oil prices are rising amid speculation that Venezuelas oil industry is collapsing.

The U.S. jobless rate fell to the lowest level since December 2000, dropping to 3.9% from 4.1%. Still, the U.S. created just 164,000 new jobs in April, below forecast. Hourly wages are up 2.6% year-over-year, but were up only 0.1% from the previous month. While two more rate hikes are expected in 2018, the Fed may hold off until later in the summer instead of June.

The Energy Information Administration said U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased by 6.2 million barrels from the previous week. Analysts expected a weekly build of around 1 million barrels. The EIA figures are a massive departure from yesterdays report from industry group the American Petroleum Institute.

The API reported that crude oil inventories jumped more than 3 million barrels. According the EIA, at 436.0 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are in the lower half of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 1.2 million barrels last week, and are in the upper half of the average seasonal range.