Oil slips as strong dollar offsets jobs data

AP News
Posted: Mar 08, 2013 10:26 AM

NEW YORK (AP) — The price of oil was down slightly Friday, as a strong U.S. jobs report was offset by gains in the dollar.

Benchmark oil for April delivery was down 22 cents to $91.34 a barrel in morning trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The U.S. government said employers added 236,000 jobs last month, far exceeding economist predictions. The unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent from 7.9 percent. That could signal increased demand for oil products if more drivers are joining the daily commute.

But the report also gave support to the U.S. dollar against the euro, yen and other currencies. A stronger dollar makes oil a less enticing investment for traders using those other currencies. For instance, the euro was down to $1.2987 from $1.3104 late Thursday in New York.

Crude prices have not benefited much from the optimism in stock markets, which has led to record highs on the Dow Jones industrial average this week. In fact, oil prices are near their lows for the year due to lingering concerns about global economic growth and ample crude supplies in the U.S.

Falling oil prices have helped depressed the price at the gas station. The average price for a gallon of gas fell another penny to $3.71, the lowest level in three weeks. The price has fallen for nine straight days after hitting a high of $3.79 on Feb. 27. Gas is 5 cents cheaper than it was a year ago.

Brent crude, used to price many kinds of oil imported by U.S. refineries, was down $1.03 at $110.12 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London. The falling price was attributed to the reopening of a North Sea pipeline carrying 90,000 barrels a day and which had been shut down for repairs.

In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline rose 5 cents to $3.18 a gallon.

— Heating oil fell 2 cents to $2.96 a gallon.

— Natural gas added 2 cents to $3.60 per 1,000 cubic feet.


Pamela Sampson in Bangkok and Pablo Gorondi in Budapest contributed to this report.