Investing.com - Oil futures slipped in the early part of Asian trading Friday following some mixed jobs reports out of the U.S. on Thursday. Oil traders are undoubtedly now turning their attention to the December non-farm payroll report scheduled to be delivered by the U.S. Labor Department later today.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for February delivery fell 0.65% to USD92.33 per barrel in Asian trading Friday.
In U.S. economic news, the ADP private sector payroll report showed the addition of 215,000 new U.S. jobs last month, up from a revised 148,000 in November. The Labor Department delivers the December jobs report on Friday morning. The current U.S. jobless rate is 7.7%.
The Labor Department said initial claims for jobless benefits rose by 10,000 to 372,000 last week. Economists expected a weekly reading of 360,000 claims. The less volatile four-week moving average rose to 360,000 from 359,750.
Oil is also under pressure due to comments from the Federal Reserve that it may be running out of monetary easing tools. The minutes from the latest Federal Open Market Committee meeting were released during Thursday's U.S. session and showed that quantitative easing may come to a halt this year.
The FOMC minutes showed some division among the central bank's governors regarding when to bring an end to quantitative easing. The Fed has pledged to buy $85 billion worth of bonds per month and to keep interest rates low until the unemployment rate dips below 6.5%, but no indication has been given as to when QE3 might end.
Economists are expecting the jobs report due out later today to show the addition of 150,000 new jobs in the world's largest economy, but the unemployment rate is also expected to remain 7.7%.
Adding to what could be an eventful day for oil futures is the fact that the weekly inventory data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration was delayed to today. On Thursday, the
Elsewhere, Brent crude futures for February delivery fell 0.39% USD111.42 per barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange.
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