Oil Drops To Near $82 Ahead Of US Jobs Report

Oil Pump Jack Texas

Photo: flickr / Paul Lowry

Oil fell to near $82 a barrel Friday in Asia after a jump in weekly U.S. jobless claims stoked fears of another dour monthly employment report.Benchmark crude was down 54 cents at $82.06 a barrel at late afternoon Kuala Lumpur time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract jumped $2.91, or 3.7 per cent, to finish at $82.59 per barrel in New York on Thursday.

Brent crude was down $1.16 at $104.59 a barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange in London.

Oil plummeted to 12-month lows earlier in the week but rebounded as European officials appeared to be ready to take more concerted action to contain the region’s debt crisis.

Oil’s rebound was eventually capped by a weekly jobs claims report in the U.S. that showed unemployment benefit applications rising 6,000 to 401,000

That figure suggests the closely watched report on U.S. hiring due later Friday will show employers are still reluctant to add new employees. High unemployment in the U.S. has depressed consumer spending and demand for fuel.

In other Nymex trading, heating oil fell 2.3 cents to $2.838 per gallon and gasoline futures fell 2.8 cents to $2.658 per gallon. Natural gas shed 3.6 cents to $3.562 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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