US crude settled at US$71 a barrel, retracing earlier losses; while London Brent crude settled at US$74 a barrel. Oil prices have steadied these levels, cutting back earlier losses as rising Asian stocks strengthened sentiments of economic recovery, and the dollar fell.
Initial unemployment claims in USA fell more than expected to 550,000 for the week ending Aug. 1. Though there was an increase in the total number of people seeking jobless benefits, the report indicates an improvement in the economy. Midweek, oil prices dipped below US$72 and natural gas prices tumbled on more evidence of consumer anxiety and rising supplies of unused crude and natural gas.