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  • Oil down ahead of US payrolls report

    Published on October 8, 2010

    Oil prices eased in Asian trade on Friday as investors awaited a widely watched US payrolls report, analysts said.

    New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for November delivery dropped 50 cents to USD 81.17 a barrel.

    Brent North Sea crude for November delivery was off 32 cents at USD 83.11.

    “It’s actually heading down ahead of the payrolls report,” said Ong Yi Ling, an investment analyst with Phillip Futures in Singapore.

    Analysts said the US Labor Department’s non-farm payrolls report on September employment, due out later on Friday, could be pivotal in the Fed’s decision to step in with new measures to bolster the world’s biggest economy.

    The consensus forecast is the economy created zero jobs and the unemployment rate will rise a tenth of a point to 9.7 per cent.

    US government data on Thursday showed new claims for unemployment benefits dropped last week by more than two per cent but more positive data is needed to convince investors the US recovery is still on track, economists said.

    “The recent decline in initial claims is a positive sign for the labour market, though more declines would be needed to confirm that the recovery is picking up momentum,” said Andrew Gledhill at Moody’s Analytics.

    More than eight million jobs have been lost since the US economy entered recession in December 2007.