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Oil falls to near $88 ahead of key US jobs report

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[September 02, 2011]  SINGAPORE (AP) -- Oil prices fell to near $88 a barrel Friday in Asia as investors awaited a key jobs report later in the day for evidence about the strength of the U.S. economy.

Benchmark oil for October delivery was down 91 cents to $88.02 at late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Crude rose 12 cents to settle at $88.93 on Thursday.

In London, Brent crude for October delivery was down 48 cents at $113.87 on the ICE Futures exchange.

Crude was bolstered by signs industrial production in the U.S. continues to expand. The Institute for Supply Management said Thursday that U.S. manufacturing grew for the 25th straight month while analysts had expected a contraction.

Investors will be closely watching the latest data later Friday from the Labor Department on the U.S. jobs market. Analysts are expecting employers added 93,000 jobs last month.

"Non-farm payrolls report will likely determine how the oil complex finishes this week," energy consultant Ritterbusch and Associates said in a report. "The flow of economic data during the past week or so has been encouraging and has contributed to the upswing in both the equities and the oil market."

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Crude has jumped about 16 percent since August 9.

In other Nymex trading for October contracts, heating oil fell 1.9 cents at $3.03 per gallon and gasoline futures dropped 2.5 cents at $2.87 per gallon. Natural gas for October delivery slid 2.5 cents to $4.03 per 1,000 cubic feet.

[Associated Press; By ALEX KENNEDY]

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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