Oil falls below $81 barrel in Asia as markets await key US employment report

By Alex Kennedy, AP
Friday, October 8, 2010

Oil falls below $81 as markets await jobs report

SINGAPORE — Oil prices slipped below $81 a barrel Friday in Asia as investors looked to a key monthly jobs report for clues about the strength of the U.S. economy.

Benchmark oil for November delivery was down 76 cents to $80.92 a barrel at late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost $1.56 to settle at $81.67 on Thursday.

Analysts estimate the U.S. economy likely added a net total of 75,000 private sector jobs in September, but that an equal number of temporary Census jobs were lost, leaving the unemployment rate slightly higher at 9.7 percent from 9.6 percent in August.

“There’s much uncertainty in the market at the moment with everyone waiting to see what the jobs report says,” Sander Capital Advisors said. “We could see a further pull back in the price of oil to close out the week.”

In other Nymex trading in November contracts, heating oil rose 0.22 cent to $2.254 a gallon and gasoline was steady at $2.11 a gallon. Natural gas held at $3.614 per 1,000 cubic feet.

In London, Brent crude fell $1.18 to $82.25 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

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