Oil prices fell more than 2 percent on Friday as supply concerns eased in the Middle East and employment data from the largest oil-consuming economy.
Brent crude futures fell $1.92, or 2.3%, to $84.89 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures fell $1.95, or 2.4%, to $80.51 a barrel.
Both indicators are down more than 6% for the week.
Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah warned on Friday that a wider conflict in the Middle East was possible but did not commit to opening a new front on Israel’s border with Lebanon.
For the market, the Israel-Hamas conflict caused neither a significant demand nor supply disruption.
Official data showed that employment growth in the US slowed more than expected in October, while wage inflation slowed, indicating an easing in labor market conditions. The view that the Fed does not need to raise interest rates further has strengthened.
While the Fed kept interest rates steady this week, the Bank of England kept interest rates at a 15-year high, supporting oil prices as some risk appetite returned to the markets.
But a private sector survey on Friday showed that although China’s services activity grew slightly faster in October, sales rose at the slowest rate in 10 months and employment stagnated as business confidence weakened.
The data follows a reading from the National Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday showing China’s manufacturing activity unexpectedly contracted in October.
On the supply side, analysts expect Saudi Arabia to reaffirm that it will extend its voluntary oil production cut to 1 million barrels per day through December.
The U.S. House of Representatives easily passed a bill strengthening sanctions on Iranian oil by a strong bipartisan vote, but it was unclear how effective the bill would be if it became law.
While Congress can pass sanctions laws, such measures often come with national security exemptions that give the president discretion in enforcing the law.
China may continue to import oil from the sanctioned countries.
U.S. energy firms cut the number of oil and gas rigs operating this week to the lowest level since February 2022, Baker Hughes said Friday.