Oil falls below $75 a barrel in Asia ahead of US employment report

Friday, September 3, 2010

Oil falls below $75 ahead of US jobs report

BANGKOK — Oil prices fell below $75 a barrel Friday in Asia as investors awaited a report on U.S. employment that will influence guesses about the strength of future energy demand from the No. 1 economy.

Benchmark oil for October delivery was down 19 cents at $74.84 a barrel at late afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.11 to settle at $75.02 on Thursday.

Asia stocks were mostly higher after U.S. indicators showed slight improvement in economic activity but oil, which often follow stock markets, ignored this cue ahead of the employment figures due later Friday.

The employment report for August is expected to show the unemployment rate rising to 9.6 percent from 9.5 percent in July, according to a survey of analysts by Thomson Reuters.

Oil prices have traded between $70 and $80 for most of the past year as the global economy recovered from last year’s recession, but developed countries struggled to regain strong growth. U.S. crude and fuel inventories have remained high, suggesting the demand for fuel remains sluggish.

In other Nymex trading in October contracts, heating oil fell 0.63 cent to $2.056 a gallon and gasoline dropped 0.86 cent to $1.913 a gallon. Natural gas for October delivery rose 2.9 cents to $3.78 per 1,000 cubic feet.

In London, Brent crude was down 35 cents at $76.58 on the ICE Futures exchange.

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