This week’s crude oil inventories data revealed that commercial firms added 1.4mil barrels of oil to their inventories. Although it let down the consensus of -1.6mil barrels, this shows sign of a slowdown in crude oil production when compared to previous change of 1.7mil barrels. Following the slowdown, both West Texas Intermediate (WTI) and Brent crude regained its upward trend after settling below $40 and $42 respectively to mark its 4-month low.
In the US labour market, unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.9%. The number of individuals who filed for unemployment insurance during the past week (initial claims) was 1.5% above consensus, increasing from 266k a week earlier to 269k. However, the number of claims continued to remain below 300k, a threshold that signifies strong labor market conditions. In addition, Non-Farm Payroll registered above consensus at 255k as compared to what was forecasted to be 180k. Job gains occurred in professional and business services, health care, and financial activities.
China’s trade balance came in well above estimates at 343B, mainly attributable to the spike of 2.9% y-o-y in exports, beating the forecast of 2.3% and previous change of 1.3% y-o-y. In addition, the trade balance surprise was also fueled by a steep fall of 5.7% in China’s imports, which was below the estimate of a 1.1% reduction.