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Dismal US jobs report, Iran talks weigh on oil
by Staff Writers
New York (AFP) April 5, 2013

Global oil prices fell further on Friday after a dismal US jobs report renewed concerns about the strength of the world's biggest economy and traders kept an eye on Iran nuclear talks.

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for May, closed at $92.70 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, down 56 cents from Thursday.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in May dived $2.22 to settle at $104.12 a barrel on London's Intercontinental Exchange (ICE).

The highly anticipated jobs market report fell far short of market expectations.

The Labor Department said the United States added just 88,000 jobs in March. The unemployment rate dipped to 7.6 percent from 7.7 percent in February, but only because people dropped out of the workforce.

"Clearly the market was disappointed" in the weak job creation and the shrinking labor pool, said Andy Lipow, an independent analyst.

"With people leaving the workforce, then they don't have the disposable income to spend" and keep up momentum in the economy, Lipow said.

Also in focus were talks under way between Iran and six world powers in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Iran and the so-called P5+1 -- the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany -- failed Friday to reach a breakthrough in the dispute over Iran's contested nuclear program.

Iran insists it is for peaceful purposes but the P5+1, which also includes Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, suspect it masks a nuclear weapons program. The talks were set to resume Saturday.

The talks also put pressure on oil prices because there was "a little bit of a less geopolitical risk premium," said Bart Melek of TD Securities.

James Williams of WTRG Economics noted that WTI had fallen 4.2 percent and Brent was down 4.1 percent over the prior two days.

"Behind the moves were an increase in US crude stocks and a series of negative economic reports in the US and Europe," he said.


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Outside View: Modest jobs growth expected
College Park, Md. (UPI) Apr 4, 2013
Forecasters expect the U.S. Labor Department to report Friday that the U.S. economy added 193,000 jobs in March. This is in line with the pace of recent months but hardly enough to lower unemployment down to acceptable levels. In the fourth quarter, gross domestic product was up only 0.6 percent, slowed by a drop in inventory build and smaller Pentagon purchases. Those factors aren't li ... read more

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