Oil advanced, trimming a weekly decline, as the jobless rate dropped to its lowest level in four years in the U.S., the world’s largest consumer of crude.
West Texas Intermediate futures increased as much as 0.8 percent, reversing an earlier loss of 0.5 percent. Employment climbed by 146,000 in November and the unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent, the lowest since December 2008, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. Crude fell earlier after Germany’s Bundesbank cut its 2013 growth projection for Europe’s largest economy.
“Overall it is good for the economy,” Ole Hansen, senior manager of trading advisory at Saxo Bank A/S in Copenhagen, said after the U.S. jobs data. “It should remove some uncertainty we’ve had the past several days, although upside is likely to be limited” because of the weak European economy, he said.
Crude for January delivery rose as much as 66 cents to $86.92 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and traded for $86.53 at 1:45 p.m. London time. The contract slid $1.62 yesterday to $86.26, the lowest close since Nov. 15. Prices are down 2.7 percent this week and 12 percent this year.
Brent for January settlement advanced 56 cents to $107.59 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark contract was at a premium of $21.04 to WTI. It closed at $20.77 yesterday, the narrowest gap since Oct. 19.
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