Oil rose back above $34 a barrel Friday in Asia after concerns about weakening U.S. consumer demand sent crude near five-year lows overnight.
Light, sweet crude for March delivery rose 41 cents to $34.39 a barrel by afternoon in Singapore on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.96 overnight to settle at $33.98 a barrel. Investors are worried that the worst U.S. recession in decades could be deepening, and taking demand for crude down with it. Job losses are a particular concern as unemployment drags on consumer spending. The collapse in crude prices threatens to make some higher-cost fields unprofitable, which could lead producers to curtail output.