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Oil prices dip in Asia as US rig count jumps


Singapore : Oil prices eased in Asia today as an increase in US drilling activity and a strong dollar reversed gains from last week’s better-than-forecast US jobs report.

The commodity eked out modest gains Friday after data showed the world’s top economy created 287,000 jobs in June following a dismal rise in May.

However, the gains – which were small compared to a near five per cent drop the day before – were wiped out today as the number of active US drilling rigs, a barometer of future output, rose by 10 to a 12-week high of 351 last week, the fifth gain in six weeks.

At about 1215 IST, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate was down 40 cents, or 0.88 per cent, at USD 45.01 while Brent fell 36 cents, or 0.77 per cent, to USD 46.40.

“When those rig numbers are up, we will see weakness in the oil price because it will bring on new supply,” David Lennox, an analyst at Fat Prophets in Sydney told Bloomberg News.

“Anything where it shows that supply is potentially able to come back on-stream will cause constant problems.”

A strong dollar, which got a boost from the US employment numbers, added downward pressure on crude. A strong greenback makes dollar-priced commodities like oil more expensive for those using other currencies.

Oil has seen choppy trading along with world equity markets since Britain voted to leave the European Union on June 23.

Prices have recovered since hitting multi-year lows below USD 30 a barrel, but are still a long way off from more than USD 100 seen in mid-2014.

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