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Oil falls as US job growth fails to impress
NEW YORK—Oil fell 2 per cent yesterday as traders fretted that jobs aren't growing fast enough in the US to significantly boost demand for fuel. Benchmark oil closed down US$1.83 to US$89.88 per barrel in New York.
The economy created 114,000 jobs in September, in line with what economists had expected. But those extra commuters might not budge the needle on gas demand, which was down 2.5 percent from a year earlier in the four weeks ended September 28, according to Energy Department figures released Wednesday.
"That doesn't suggest really strong job growth," Gene McGillian, broker and analyst at Tradition Energy. McGillian said the report, combined with the fact that there are ample supplies of oil and low demand, drove prices lower. Oil prices were volatile toward the end of the week as traders try to gauge the strength of global oil demand while also watching developments surrounding Syria for any signs of a disruption in supplies from the Middle East.
The last time oil had a three-day stretch where it gained or lost 2 per cent or more each day was from June 20 to June 22. The US average for gasoline rose a half-cent to US$3.789 a gallon (US$1 a liter). Californians saw an extraordinary spike in gas prices because of refinery issues — up 17 cents on average per gallon overnight — while prices in most other states held steady or declined by a penny or two.
In London, Brent crude, which is used to price international varieties of oil, fell 56 cents to US$112.02 per barrel. Among other energy futures traded in New York:
— Natural gas gave up a penny to end at US$3.396 per 1,000 cubic feet.
— Heating oil fell 3.25 cents to US$3.16 per gallon.
— Wholesale gasoline gained a tenth of a penny to settle at US$2.95 per gallon.
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