* U.S. nonfarm payrolls up 162,000, below 184,000 forecast
* Libya oil exports less than half normal rates
(Updates prices and market activity throughout, adds more
comments from analysts)
By Nicolas Medina Mora Perez
NEW YORK, Aug 2 Oil futures fell on Friday as
U.S. jobs data came in below expectations, tempering economic
optimism that had pushed Brent crude during the session to its
highest level in four months, and prompting some investors to
U.S. employers slowed hiring in July, with the number of
jobs outside the farming sector increasing by 162,000, the Labor
Department said, below the median forecast of 184,000 in a
The disappointing number led many oil investors to sell out
of positions after sharp gains in the previous two days.
"We've got a pullback from the jobs data, but I suspect we
are also seeing some profit-taking before the weekend," said Bob
Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho Securities in New
"That said, we are still trading at historically high
levels. I wouldn't be surprised if we tested $110, although that
won't happen today."
U.S. crude oil futures fell 95 cents to settle at
$106.94 a barrel. Despite Friday's decline, the U.S. benchmark
ended the week with a 2.1 percent gain.
Brent futures fell 59 cents to settle at $108.95 a
barrel, after reaching an intraday peak of $110.09, the highest
level since April 3. Brent ended the week up 1.66 percent,
snapping two weeks of declines.
The premium of North Sea benchmark Brent over U.S. crude, or
West Texas Intermediate, widened to settle at $2.01 a barrel,
trading in a range between $1.14 and $2.19.
Gasoline futures fell with the rest of the energy complex,
dropping 3.5 cents to trade near $2.99 a gallon.
Over the past two sessions, prices rose sharply after strong
U.S. manufacturing data for July, better European factory
numbers and healthier-than-expected Chinese industrial data.
The downside for oil prices on Friday was limited by concern
over supply disruptions in Iraq, Libya and Nigeria.
Libya's oil exports continued to flow at less than half
normal rates on Friday as strikes and protests shut major oil
terminals in the North African OPEC producer, triggering one of
the worst disruptions in the past year.
These outages helped trim OPEC output to a four-month low in
July, a Reuters survey published on Wednesday showed. OPEC
output averaged 30.25 million barrels per day (bpd), down from
30.38 million bpd in June, the survey found.
OPEC supply looks set to tighten further. Seaborne oil
exports from the producer group, excluding Angola and Ecuador,
will fall by 490,000 bpd in the four weeks to Aug. 17, an
analyst who estimates future shipments said on Thursday.
Iraq's production has come under pressure as Sunni
insurgents target its northern pipeline, while technical
problems curb output in the south.
Nigerian production has been blighted by oil theft, a factor
that severely dented Royal Dutch Shell and Eni's second-quarter
Geopolitical risks were in focus after Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Iranian president-elect Hassan
Rouhani had shown his true face after Iran's student news agency
ISNA quoted him as saying Israel was a "wound" that must be
Iranian state media said unidentified news agencies had
distorted Rouhani's remarks. State owned Press TV broadcast
footage that showed Rouhani saying a "wound" had been inflicted
on the Muslim world by the Israeli occupation of Palestinian
land, but made no reference to the "Zionist regime" or the
removal of Israel. ISNA later retracted the
(Additional reporting by Simon Falush in London; editing by
Andre Grenon and David Gregorio)