The price of oil fell slightly Friday as investors weighed the possibility that the Federal Reserve might end its extraordinary economic stimulus measures later this year.
Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for February delivery fell six cents to US$92.86 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The Labour Department reported U.S. employers added 155,000 jobs in December, a steady gain that shows hiring held up during the tense negotiations to resolve the fiscal cliff. The solid job growth wasn’t enough to push down the unemployment rate, however, which remained at 7.8 per cent last month.
Also, the Institute for Supply Management said U.S. service firms’ activity expanded in December by the most in nearly a year, driven by a jump in new orders and hiring. The index measures growth in industries that cover 90 per cent of the workforce, including retail, construction, health care and financial services.
Brent crude, used to price international varieties of oil, was down 91 cents at US$111.23 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
In other energy futures trading on the Nymex, wholesale gasoline lost four cents to US$2.76 a U.S. gallon (3.79 litres), heating oil fell two cents to US$3.01 a gallon and natural gas rose six cents to US$3.27 per 1,000 cubic feet.