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Oil Halts Two-Day Decline in London on Signs of U.S. Jobs Growth

Oil halted a two-day slide in London, recouping earlier losses after data showed that companies added workers last month in the U.S., the world’s largest consumer of crude.

Brent futures pared an earlier loss of 0.6 percent after a report showed companies in the U.S. added employees in April, signaling the labor market is strengthening. Crude stockpiles probably increased from the highest since November, according to a Bloomberg News survey before an Energy Department report today Yesterday, the American Petroleum Institute said crude inventories climbed for a fifth week.

“Oil stocks have been tightening, but are not tight just yet” in developed economies, said Harry Tchilinguirian, head of commodity-markets strategy at BNP Paribas SA in London.

Brent crude for June settlement on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London was at $122.32 a barrel at 1:36 p.m. after falling as much as 73 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $121.72 a barrel. Yesterday, the contract lost $2.67, or 2.1 percent, to $122.45, the biggest one-day decline since April 12.

Crude for June delivery on the New York Mercantile fell as much as 90 cents to $110.15 a barrel and was at $110.67 at 1:23 p.m. London time. Yesterday, it decreased $2.47, or 2.2 percent, to $111.05, the biggest drop since April 18. Prices have advanced 34 percent in the past year.

Employment at U.S. companies increased by 179,000 in April, according to figures from ADP Employer Services. The median estimate in the Bloomberg News survey called for a 198,000 advance this month.

U.S. crude inventories rose 2 million barrels in the week to April 29 from 363.1 million, according to the median estimate from 15 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. Gasoline stockpiles are expected to have slipped 500,000 barrels from 205.6 million, which would be an 11th weekly decline.

Yesterday, the industry-funded American Petroleum Institute said crude stockpiles rose 3.2 million barrels and gasoline supplies climbed 680,000 barrels.

The Energy Department will release its Weekly Petroleum Status Report at 10:30 a.m. in Washington.

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