West Texas Intermediate crude pared losses to trade little changed after U.S. payrolls rose by the most since January 2012, exceeding forecasts. Brent traded lower after Saudi Arabia extended discounts to Asian buyers.
WTI recouped a loss of 1.2 percent. Employers in the U.S. added 321,000 jobs in November, driving wage gains and highlighting increased confidence that the economy will endure a weakening in global markets. State-run Saudi Arabian Oil Co. extended its discount for Arab Light sales to Asia next month to $2 a barrel below a regional benchmark. That’s the lowest in at least 14 years.
WTI for January delivery slid 29 cents to $66.52 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange as of 1:48 p.m. in London. Total volume was about 50 percent below the 100-day average for the time of day.
Brent for January settlement slid as much as 74 cents to $68.90 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange and last traded at $69.45. A close at that level would mark the lowest since October 2009. The European benchmark crude traded at a premium of $2.79 to WTI, compared with $4 on Nov. 28. Prices dropped 1 percent this week.