Crude prices higher on news, US jobs data
Crude oil prices were on a roller coaster Friday, with contracts for West Texas Intermediate crude in New York wavering between gains and losses after the US Labor Department reported that the US economy added 117,000 jobs in July, more than expected, sending the unemployment rate there down to 9.1 percent from 9.2 percent in June.
September contracts for WTI were up 27 cents to $86.90 per barrel at just past 2 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude was last reported $1.52 higher to $108.77 per barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London.
Meanwhile, Iranian officials said a pipeline explosion near the border with Iraq had not stopped production there and Iran’s minister to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said that the cartel should call an emergency meeting if crude prices fall further.
OPEC’s next scheduled meeting is not until December.
Nymex September gasoline futures were up 6 cents to $2.80 per gallon in afternoon trade, after Valero Energy (NYSE: VLO) reported that it has closed a unit of its refinery in Memphis, Tennessee, after a fire, with no estimate of how long the unit’s production will be affected.
September heating oil futures added 3 cents in afternoon trade in New York, to $2.94 per gallon, while Nymex natural gas futures were down less than a cent to $3.94 per million British thermal units.
The retail price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was down slightly overnight in the United States, to $3.70 per gallon on average nationally.
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