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Oil swoons as soft US jobs data, Ukraine cease-fire inject caution

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Crude oil fell on Friday, as disappointing jobs data from the United States suggested economic growth may not be as robust in the world's biggest oil consuming economy.

U.S. jobs figures showed nonfarm payrolls increased by just 142,000 in August, well below forecasts of 225,000 and the smallest rise eight months.

"U.S. economic growth was supposed to counter the slowing in China and Europe and the payrolls report threw a little cold water on that idea," said Gene McGillian, analyst at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.

Brent crude for October delivery was down more than $1 under $101 a barrel, on pace for a 2.2 percent weekly loss. U.S. crude also dropped $1.16 to settle at $93.29 a barrel, more than 2 percent lower for the week. Brent has now fallen for 3 of the last 4 weeks, and 6 times in the past seven weeks for U.S. crude.

The dollar weakened against a basket of currencies on Friday after the U.S. jobs data. Oil prices on both sides of the Atlantic rose nearly $1 on Thursday after a European Central Bank interest rate cut led to a spike in the U.S. dollar.

A stronger dollar can depress demand for oil by making it more expensive for holders of other currencies to buy the dollar-denominated commodity.

Market analysts and traders continued to monitor the recent geopolitical threats to oil production and demand. Ukraine and pro-Russian rebels agreed to a ceasefire on Friday, a first step to cool a conflict that has soured relations between Moscow and the West.

Rising U.S. production, a glut of crude in the Atlantic basin and Asia, together with the potential for rising exports from OPEC-members Libya and Iran, have added downward pressure on oil prices.


--By Reuters

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