Oil lower in Asia following last week’s surge

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Investing.com - Oil futures fell modestly in the early part of Monday's Asian session, paring last week's gains that saw crude rally 2.55%. That performance was good for the fourth consecutive weekly gain.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for February delivery fell 0.08% to USD93.02 per barrel. That small retrenchment comes after rose 0.2% Friday to settle the week at USD93.08 a barrel by close of trade. Crude futures flirted with the USD94 per barrel level last Wednesday.

Oil prices turned higher after the U.S. Energy Information Administration said that U.S. crude oil inventories fell by 11.1 million barrels last week, compared to expectations for a decline of 0.9 million barrels.

Oil was also bolstered by a decent U.S. jobs report, which showed the world's largest economy added 155,000 new jobs in December. That number was slightly ahead of economists' expectations, but the unemployment rate also rose modestly to 7.8% from 7.7%. The U.S. is the world's largest oil-consuming nation by a wide margin and signs of a pickup in economic activity there are viewed as a positive sign for oil bulls.

Elsewhere, Iran's oil minister said over the weekend that more than USD20 billion in foreign investment has been poured into developing some of that country's oil fields. Output from the OPEC member has been constrained recently due to economic sanctions imposed in the face of Iran's uranium enrichment plans. Those sanctions have been imposed by the U.S. and other Western economic powers.

New supply from sources such as the U.S. and increased output from Saudi Arabia has helped mitigate the loss of some of Iran's lost production, preventing price volatility in the process. With new supply expected to come online this year from U.S. and African sources, just to name a pair of locations, many analysts are forecasting stability in crude prices for much of 2013.

Meanwhile, Brent crude for February delivery slipped 0.02% to USD111.39 per barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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