Oil prices retreated slightly on Monday as weak energy demand and concerns over more fiscal battles in Washington tempered news of growth in the US jobs market, analysts said.

New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in February shed 11 cents to $92.98 a barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for February dropped 30 cents to $111.01 in late London deals.

Official data on Friday showed that the US economy generated 155,000 jobs in December, and the unemployment rate held at 7.8 per cent.

However, a separate US government report last week showing softer fuel demand outweighed that news, Phillip Futures said in a market commentary.

Weaker US energy demand “added to bearish concerns about oil markets, which have been closely monitoring economic data for signals about consumption, which is under pressure because of the struggling economy”, the broker added.

The United States is the world’s biggest oil consuming nation and the health of its economy is a key influence on crude prices.

(This article was published on January 8, 2013)
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