Oil prices slowed by strong dollar and US job concerns

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Oil prices were directionless on Monday with the market still worried about poorer-than-expected US employment figures and the dollar strong, analysts said.

At 1000 GMT, London's Brent North Sea crude was up 28 cents to 72.37 dollars, compared to Friday's closing price.

The dollar's strength was underlined when the euro briefly plunged to 1.1876 dollars in Asian trade on Monday, its lowest level for more than four years, although it rallied in early London trading.

The continuing fall-out from the US jobs data published on Friday further depressed the oil price. The US economy created 431,000 non-farm jobs in May, falling way short of the 500,000 expected by most analysts.

The news had led to a three-dollar fall in oil prices on Friday, and analysts said it continued to hang over markets as they opened for a new week.

"Overall, the latest data is another reminder that the recovery of the world's largest economy will be, if anything, a trudge rather than a saunter," said the Vienna-based JBC Energy consultancy.

Olivier Jakob, from the Geneva-based Petromatrix consultancy, said the combination of the US data and the fact that unemployment in Europe was above 10 percent showed that "overall, for now we are still in a job-less recovery".

© 2010 AFP

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