Reuters

(Reuters)

Oil Holds onto Losses

Features Dow Jones Newswires

U.S. oil prices continued their monthslong slide on expectations of tepid global demand, despite better-than-expected U.S. employment data.

Continue Reading Below

Light, sweet crude for November delivery rose as high as $91.79 a barrel after the report's release and then dropped down 42 cents, or 0.5%, to $90.59 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Brent fell $1.31, or 1.4%, to $92.11 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.

Both contracts have tumbled for months on concerns about ample global supplies and lackluster demand. Brent settled Thursday at more than a two-year low, while WTI fell to a 17-month intraday low before ending slightly higher.

The U.S. added 248,000 jobs last month, more than the 215,000 that economists had expected, the Labor Department said Friday. The unemployment rate fell to 5.9% from 6.1% last month, hitting the lowest level since July 2008.

Stronger employment can lead to higher demand for petroleum products, especially gasoline, as more workers commute to jobs.

Continue Reading Below

"We're still going to see good demand, if not stronger demand, going forward for oil and oil products," said Carl Larry, analyst at Oil Outlooks & Opinions. However, "the rest of the world's still shaky, and we could see Brent continue to drag us down."

The dollar rose against a basket of currencies on the employment report, also weighing on oil prices. A stronger dollar makes oil more expensive to buyers using foreign currencies.

November reformulated gasoline blendstock, or RBOB, recently fell 3.84 cents, or 1.6%, to $2.3707 a gallon, the lowest intraday price since January 2011. November diesel fell 2.50 cents, or 1%, to $2.6130 a gallon.