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09.04.2012 16:29

Oil falls on sluggish U.S. employment growth, Iran talks

 

Oil dropped to a seven-week low as an employment report raised concern that U.S. fuel demand will slow and Iran agreed to resume talks on its nuclear program.

Futures fell as much as 2.4 percent after the government reported on April 6 that the U.S. created 120,000 jobs in March, below the median forecast of 205,000. Negotiations between Iran and the United Nations Security Council members plus Germany are scheduled to start April 14, easing concern that supplies will be disrupted.

The U.S. employment increase was the smallest in five months. The data also showed the unemployment rate fell to 8.2 percent as people left the labor force, while workers put in fewer hours.

Iran and the representatives of the six nations will meet for nuclear talks starting April 14 in Istanbul, Michael Mann, a European Union spokesman, said yesterday. Their last meeting was in January 2011. The government in Tehran is under increasing economic pressure from trade, financial and energy sanctions, including U.S. penalties on banks that process payments for Iranian crude.

Consumer prices in China rose 3.6 percent from a year earlier after gaining 3.2 percent in February, the National Bureau of Statistics said on its website today. That was more than the median 3.4 percent estimate. Faster inflation may limit the government’s options to stimulate growth in the second-largest oil-consuming country.

Crude for May delivery fell to $100.81, the lowest level since Feb. 16, on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices have climbed 2.1 percent this year.

Brent oil for May settlement dropped $2.33, or 1.9 percent, to $121.10 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

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