Oil falls in Asia on sluggish US hiring

Associated Press

BANGKOK (AP) — Multiple signs that the global economy is not headed for an upswing in the near term kept oil prices on their down trend Monday.

Benchmark crude for November delivery was down fell 37 cents to $89.51 per barrel at midday Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Oil fell more than 2 percent Friday as traders fret that jobs aren't growing fast enough in the U.S. to significantly boost demand for fuel. The contract closed down $1.83 to $89.88 per barrel.

The economy created 114,000 jobs in September, in line with what economists had expected but not an indication of strong jobs growth. The U.S. Labor Department said the unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent, the first time it's been below 8 percent in nearly four years.

In a new sign of a weak global economy, the World Bank cut the growth outlook for developing Asia-Pacific economies for 2012 to 7.2 percent from its May forecast of 7.6 percent. The bank cited weak global demand due to the lackluster U.S. recovery and Europe's recession.

The bank also cut its forecast for China, the region's biggest economy, to 7.7 percent from May's 8.2 percent.

Oil jumped 4 percent on Thursday following a 4 percent decline on Wednesday. Traders have been trying to gauge the strength of global oil demand while also watching developments surrounding Syria for any signs of a disruption in supplies from the Middle East.

In London, Brent crude, which is used to price international varieties of oil, fell 46 cents to $111.56 a barrel.

Among other energy futures traded in New York:

— Natural gas rose 1.3 cents to $3.409 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Heating oil fell 1.1 cents to $3.145 per gallon.

— Wholesale gasoline was unchanged at $2.953 per gallon.

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