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Crude Oil Falls, Heads for Weekly Loss After U.S. Jobs Report

Crude oil fell below $73 a barrel in New York, heading for its first weekly decline in four weeks, after a U.S. report showed the world’s biggest economy lost jobs for the first time this year.

U.S. payrolls declined by 125,000 last month, the Labor Department said in a report today. Oil may fall next week on growing concern the U.S. economic recovery is faltering, a Bloomberg News survey showed.

“The payroll numbers were more or less in line with expectations,” said Gerrit Zambo, a trader at Bayerische Landesbank in Munich. “Prices went down when people realized there was nothing really good and nothing really bad, so it went back to the situation we were in before.”

Oil for August delivery dropped as much as $1.25, or 1.7 percent, to $71.70 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $72.36 at 1:53 p.m. London time. Brent crude for August fell 28 cents to $72.06 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London.

Employment in the U.S. fell in June for the first time this year, reflecting a drop in federal census workers and a smaller-than-forecast gain in private hiring, the Labor Department’s report showed. Economists had projected a decline of 130,000 jobs, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey.

Crude fell 7.5 percent in the last four days, touching a three-week low of $72.05 yesterday, amid concern the economic recovery in the U.S. and China will slow and curb demand in the world’s two largest energy consumers. China yesterday reported slowing manufacturing expansions.

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