HOUSTON, Aug 8 (Reuters) - Oil prices rose nearly 2% on
Monday in volatile trading, bouncing off multi-month lows
touched last week, as positive economic data from China and the
United States fed hopes for demand despite nagging fears of a
Brent crude futures settled $1.73, or 1.8%, at
$96.65 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was
at $90.76 a barrel, up $1.75, or 1.97%.
Last week, fears that a recession could dent energy demand
pushed front-month Brent prices down 13.7% to their lowest since
February. It was Brent's biggest weekly drop since April 2020,
and WTI lost 9.7%.
Both contracts recouped some losses on Friday after jobs
growth in the United States, the world's top oil consumer,
unexpectedly accelerated in July.
"Once again the macro influences have seeped back into this
market especially as it relates to Friday's employment number
the economics of that should be giving us much better gasoline
demand than we're seeing," said John Kilduff, partner at Again
Capital LLC in New York.
On Sunday, China also surprised markets with
faster-than-expected growth in exports.
China, the world's top crude importer, brought in 8.79
million barrels per day (bpd) of crude in July, up from a
four-year low in June, but still 9.5% less than a year earlier,
customs data showed.
In Europe, Russian crude and oil products exports continued
to flow ahead of an impending embargo from the European Union
that will take effect on Dec. 5.
Last week, the Bank of England warned of a protracted
recession in Britain.
In terms of U.S. production, energy firms last week cut the
number of oil rigs by the most since September in the first drop
in 10 weeks.
Analysts at Goldman Sachs said they believe the case for
higher oil prices remains strong, with the market in a larger
deficit than they expected in recent months.
(Additional reporting by Shadia Nasralla,, Florence Tan
Editing by Mark Potter, Kirsten Donovan and David Gregorio)