SINGAPORE (AP) ? Oil prices fell to below $96 a barrel Monday in Asia amid signs the U.S. economy is struggling.
Benchmark oil for August delivery was down 50 cents to $95.70 a barrel at midday Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Crude gave up $2.47 to settle at $96.20 on Friday.
In London, Brent crude fell 63 cents to $117.70 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.
On Friday, the U.S. Labor Department said that employers added the fewest jobs in nine months and the unemployment rate rose to 9.2 percent in June, undermining investor optimism that the world’s biggest economy was improving.
“The report was negative from just about every angle of approach,” energy consultant The Schork Group said in a report. “That’s hardly what you would expect in the second year of an alleged economic recovery.”
Before the dismal jobs report, oil had rebounded from $90 two weeks ago on expectations global supplies will tighten and demand will improve during the next 18 months.
“Although the employment data delivered a significant body slam to energy markets, we’re still reluctant to rule out one more run at the $100 area,” Ritterbusch and Associates said in a report. “The energy market absorbed the important monthly employment figures well enough to make another push within the next several sessions.”
In other Nymex trading in August contracts, heating oil fell 1.5 cents to $3.08 a gallon while gasoline was steady at $3.09 a gallon. Natural gas futures added 2.5 cents at $4.23 per 1,000 cubic feet.