West Texas Intermediate crude pared its weekly increase after fewer jobs than forecast were added in the U.S., the world’s largest oil consumer.
Futures dropped as much as 0.7 percent, bringing their gain this week to 1.9 percent. The 162,000 increase in payrolls last month was less than the 185,000 estimated and the smallest advance in four months, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. Brent earlier exceeded $110 for the first time since April after Libya’s head of oil security quit as labor protests shut export terminals in the country.
“Disappointing jobs numbers” may trigger “a sharp fall in oil prices,” Thina Saltvedt, an analyst at Nordea Bank AG in Oslo, said before the release of the data. “There’s a high level of speculative money in the oil market and so if sentiment turns we could see a big turn in prices.”
WTI for September delivery lost as much as 79 cents to $107.10 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $107.21 as of 1:41 p.m. London time. The volume of all futures traded was 17 percent above the 100-day average. The contract climbed 2.8 percent to $107.60 yesterday, the most since July 10 and its highest closing level since July 19.
Brent for September settlement fell as much as 0.8 percent to $108.63 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Earlier it advanced as much as 55 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $110.09, topping $110 for the first time since April 3. The European benchmark’s premium to WTI shrank to as little as $1.26.
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