Oil prices rise ahead of US jobs report

SINGAPORE- The cost of oil rose in Asia Friday ahead of the latest US jobs report and after hitting multi-month lows a day earlier in response to key exporter Saudi Arabia cutting prices.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for November delivery rose 56 cents to $91.57, while Brent crude for November gained 43 cents to $93.85 in afternoon trade.

Singapore’s United Overseas Bank (UOB) said investors are keenly eyeing the release of the September US jobs report later Friday.

“For the September non-farm payrolls, markets are looking at a job creation of 215,000, up from 142,000 in August, while unemployment is expected to stay unchanged at 6.1 percent,” UOB said.

US jobs figures are closely watched by crude investors for clues on the state of economic recovery and demand in the world’s top oil consumer.

The gains on Friday come after WTI prices tumbled below $90 in New York intra-day trade following Riyadh’s announcement of lower prices for the fourth straight month.

WTI retreated to $88.18 — a level last seen on April 23, 2013 — before recovering to $91.01.

In London, Brent dropped to $91.55 a barrel, last hit in June 2012, but later rebounded to $93.42 at the close.

Analysts say the move by Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s biggest producer, signals its focus on maintaining market share amid a broader increase in production by rivals.