LONDON, (Reuters) – Oil held above $112 per barrel on Friday after figures showed fewer people out of work in the United States, the world’s biggest oil consumer.
Data from the United States this week suggested a nascent recovery, and further confirmation came on Friday from the non-farm payrolls which rose by 114,000 in September, up from 96,000 in August.
The positive economic news countered a spate of gloomy data that had shown a turnaround in China may be delayed and that the euro zone is almost certainly heading into recession.
“It all looks quite a bit better than expected,” said Christopher Bellew, an oil broker at Jefferies Bache in London.
“Unemployment has dipped below 8 percent which is very encouraging, earnings are up a little bit, the average work week hours seem to be up a little bit. So all quite an encouraging picture from the United States.”
Brent futures were down by 42 cents at $112.16 a barrel as of 1451 GMT, having fallen by over $1 to $111.48 earlier.
U.S. crude futures eased $1.18 to $90.53 per barrel, after climbing nearly 4 percent in the prior session.
Crude futures had fallen 3-4 percent in a single, mid-week session on the figures from China, the world’s second-biggest oil consumer.
While the gloomy global economy has hurt the outlook for fuel demand, oil prices are getting support from continuing tensions in the Middle East.
Oil rose sharply on Thursday after Turkey stepped up strikes against Syria and won parliamentary approval for further military action, pushing Brent prices up 4 percent. Syrian shelling had killed five civilians in southeast Turkey on Wednesday.
The news amplified oil supply concerns after Iran’s exports dropped following sanctions from the United States and European Union on its oil shipments.