Oil exchange traded funds (ETFs) are digesting rising inventories, unemployment numbers and watching developments in the Middle East, pushing the price of oil above and then below $100 a barrel.

After dipping below $100 a barrel on a report revealing an increase in oil and petrol stockpiles, oil futures on light, sweet crude oil for July delivery inched up to $100.40 a barrel on Thursday, reports Jerry DiColo for The Australian.  But this morning’s unemployment report pushed oil below $99.

“We still have that gravitational pull toward the $US100 level,” remarked Jim Ritterbusch, head of oil-trading adviser Ritterbusch and Associates. “Whenever we move a couple bucks from that level, we seem to swing back again.”

The Energy Information Administration stated that petroleum inventories unexpectedly increased by an additional 2.9 million barrels – analysts had expected a drop by an average of 1.9 million barrels. Additionally, gasoline supplies also jumped by 2.6 million barrels, or more than double what was expected. [Energy ETFs: Oil and Gasoline Prices Dip, While Natural Gas Jumps.]

The rise in inventories, coupled with disconcerting economic reports this week, has kept a downward pressure on crude oil as investors grow more pessimistic on the economic outlook. Additionally, businesses and consumers have been reducing their consumption of oil in light of the recent rise in prices. [Jobless Claims Weigh Down ETFs.]

For more information on oil, visit our oil category.

  • USCommodity 12 Month Oil (NYSEArca: USL) is flat in the past week.
  • USCommodity Oil Fund (NYSEArca: USO) is down 0.6% in the past week.
  • USCommodity Brent Oil Fund LP (NYSEArca: BNO) is up 0.7% in the past week.

Max Chen contributed to this article.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.