Oil prices down as traders await key US jobs data

6th May 2016, Comments 0 comments

Crude prices fell Friday as traders awaited closely-watched US jobs figures that could provide clues on the health of the world's biggest oil consumer and direction of interest rates.

The non-farm payroll report could determine when the US Federal Reserve lifts borrowing costs, which would affect the dollar and, in turn, demand for oil, analysts said.

Around 1020 GMT, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery in June was down 24 cents at $44.08 a barrel compared with Thursday's close.

Brent North Sea crude for July dropped 31 cents to $44.70 a barrel.

Prices didn't appear to win immediate support from news of an attack on an offshore oil facility in Nigeria, operated by US oil group Chevron.

"Militants using explosives blew up the Okan platform, a collection facility for offshore oil and gas that feeds the Escravos terminal," navy spokesman Chris Ezekobe told AFP, amid renewed violence that could hit exports in Africa's largest oil producer.

The attack, near Warri, in Delta state, happened on Wednesday night and was claimed by the Niger Delta Avengers group, he added.

Traders were sitting tight ahead of the US jobs report, analysts said.

The data "will have a direct impact on the US dollar and given that US dollar weakness has been one of the supportive legs for oil prices in particular, it will be an important read", Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney, told AFP.

A weaker US currency makes dollar-denominated crude cheaper for buyers holding rival currencies, spurring demand.

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© 2016 AFP

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