The employment report added to a week's worth of strong economic
reports, including an upward revision of third-quarter gross
domestic product growth. Stronger equity markets also lifted oil
But the gains were curbed by speculation the positive data would
push up the date when the U.S. Federal Reserve begins unwinding its
bond-buying program, which could reduce support for riskier assets
such as oil and other commodities.
Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser said on Friday the jobs
growth was another reason to taper quantitative easing, which is
another name for the bond-buying program.
Nonfarm payrolls increased by 203,000 jobs last month and the
unemployment rate fell to its lowest since November 2008, the U.S.
Labor Department said on Friday.
The November data took into account federal workers who were counted
as jobless in October returning to work after a 16-day partial
shutdown of the government.
U.S. crude initially fell on the jobs report, then rose to settle 27
cents higher at $97.65 per barrel. The contract ended with a 5.3
percent gain this week, its largest weekly percentage gain since
Prices were boosted after Transcanada Corp said the Keystone
pipeline would be in service by next month to deliver crude from
U.S. storage hub Cushing, Oklahoma, to refining markets.
The U.S. oil market spent Friday consolidating after reaching a
one-month high on Tuesday and adding close to $4 this week, said
Bill Baruch, senior market strategist at iitrader.com in Chicago.
"We're rangebound, looking for a catalyst," he added.
Brent rose by more than $1 per barrel to a session high of $112.06
early in the day. The contract settled up 63 cents to $111.61 per
Brent's $1 rise fueled U.S. RBOB gasoline prices, which jumped to a
two-week high of $2.7545 per gallon. The contract rose on Friday
afternoon, trading 1.9 cents higher at $2.7316, after news of an
upset at Valero's Port Arthur, Texas, refinery. It settled 1.42
cents higher at $2.7269.
[to top of second column]
U.S. oil's rally over the past week caused Brent's premium to the
U.S. benchmark to narrow by as much as $5 to $13.43 per barrel after
the spread reached its highest since March last week. The spread
settled at $13.96 on Friday, widening 36 cents from the previous
While the jobs data supported hopes of a recovering economy and
stronger oil demand, the prospect of the Fed action weighed heavy on
"The perversity in the market right now is good economic data makes
it likely the Fed is going to pull the punch bowl sooner rather than
later, and that deflates the outlook for commodities," said Addison
Armstrong, senior director of market research for Tradition Energy
in Stamford, Connecticut.
Weather-related production outages also supported prices, analysts
North Sea oil producers cut output and moved staff from some
platforms as a major storm blasted toward mainland Europe in what
meteorologists warned could be the worst weather to hit the
continent in years.
Cold weather also dented oil and gas production in the United States
and could further crimp output in top crude-producing states, such
as Texas and North Dakota.
(Additional reporting by Peg Mackey in
London and Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen in Singapore; editing by William
Hardy, Dale Hudson, Jeffrey Benkoe and Bob Burgdorfer)
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