Uncertainty over whether Friday's key U.S. job report will be strong enough for the Federal Reserve to start winding down bond purchases combined with delays to military action against Syria are dividing opinion in the oil market over near-term price direction, CNBC's latest sentiment survey shows.
About half of those polled - nearly 46 percent, or 11 out of 24 - believe prices will gain this week while the exact same number said prices will fall. The split result suggests heightened volatility in the first trading week of a new month which is replete with global risk events spanning U.S. monetary policy and Middle Eastern tensions to weakness in emerging markets. Two respondents expect the market to trade at around current levels, CNBC's poll showed.
"We are cautiously bullish in what will be headline driven trade" this week, said David Nevin, an energy broker at Xconnect Trading in London. How much Friday's non-farm payrolls data and associated "taper fears" affect the oil market "will depend on whether the strike on Syria has passed without any retaliation."