Crude oil prices ended the month lower, despite posting their first weekly gain in five weeks on Friday bolstered by concerns over worsening tensions in Ukraine and as broadly upbeat U.S. data lifted the demand outlook.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude oil for delivery in October added 1.34% to end the week at $95.82 a barrel late Friday. Nymex oil futures rose 2.58% last week, but ended the month with losses of 2.11%.
Crude oil moved higher after data showed that U.S. consumer sentiment rebounded to a seven year high in August, with the final reading of the University of Michigan’s consumer confidence index rising to 82.5 from 81.8 in June.
Another report indicated that manufacturing activity in the Chicago region continued to expand in August, pointing to underlying strength in the sector.
The reports offset separate data showing that U.S. consumer spending unexpectedly fell 0.1% in July.
The reports came one day after data showed that U.S. gross domestic product expanded at an annual rate of 4.2% in the second quarter, up from a preliminary estimate of 4% and rebounding from a first quarter contraction.
The economic data bolstered expectations for oil demand in the U.S., the world’s largest consumer.
Brent oil was boosted after Ukraine’s government said that Russian troops had entered the conflict in eastern Ukraine, sparking fears over more far-reaching sanctions against Moscow.
Existing sanctions have so far not disrupted oil exports from Russia, the world’s second-largest oil exporter.
Brent for October delivery was up 0.60% to $103.08 a barrel late Friday on the ICE Futures Exchange in London. Prices rose 1.17% for the week, but ended the month down 1.68%.
In the week ahead, the Nymex trading floor will be closed on Monday for the Labor Day holiday. Investors will be looking ahead to Tuesday’s Institute of Supply Management report on manufacturing activity and to Friday’s August nonfarm payrolls report for further indications on the strength of the U.S. economic recovery.