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Oil rises slightly in Asia as US jobs report looms

Published: August 3, 2012 | 7:42 am
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BANGKOK (AP) Oil was slightly higher in Asia on Friday after a 2 percent drop the day before as attention turned from an anticlimactic ECB meeting to the monthly report on U.S. hiring.

Benchmark crude was up 37 cents at $87.50 a barrel at midday Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract dropped $1.78 to end Thursday at $87.13 in New York. Brent crude was up 50 cents at $106.83 on the ICE futures exchange in London.

Oil slid Thursday after the head of the European Central Bank failed to take immediate action to overcome the region’s debt crisis and prop up the weak European economy. Six of the 17 nations that use the euro are in recession, which has reduced Europe’s demand for crude.

ECB President Mario Draghi said last week that he would do “whatever it takes” to save the euro common currency. To many, that meant Draghi would announce measures after the central bank’s policy meeting Thursday to spark borrowing and spending. But he didn’t deliver, offering only more promises.

Markets are now turning their attention to the monthly U.S. hiring report due later Friday. The U.S. has created fewer new jobs in recent months as its economic recovery stumbled and the unemployment rate has remained above 8 percent.

Analysts at DBS Bank in Singapore said it’s expected the U.S. added 100,000 new jobs in July, an improvement from about 80,000 in June. But that is still significantly below the level that would suggest the economy is picking up steam again.

In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline futures were up 0.2 cent at $2.871 a gallon and heating oil added 0.6 cent to $2.849. Natural gas was down 0.2 cent at $2.918 per 1,000 cubic feet.


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