Oil falls below $98; analysts see supplies rising

Oil falls below $98, as jobs report fails to signal big pickup in demand amid rising supplies

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Oil closed at the lowest level since June Tuesday as recent data indicate that there is plenty of supply to meet current demand.

Benchmark U.S. crude for November delivery dropped $1.42. or 1.4 percent, to close at $97.80 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That's the lowest close since June 28.

The November contract expires Tuesday. The more heavily traded December contract fell $1.38 to $98.30 a barrel.

The U.S. government said the economy added 148,000 jobs in September, a number that suggests employers held back on hiring before a 16-day partial government shutdown began Oct. 1. It wasn't a number that signaled an increased need for gasoline for the daily commute.

The jobs data came a day after the Energy Department reported a jump in U.S. crude supplies. The government said Monday that U.S. crude supplies rose by 4 million barrels in the week ended Oct. 11. The report was delayed five days due to the government shutdown.

Analysts at The Schork Report estimated that U.S. commercial crude oil stocks are at the third highest level for October since 1930 and 13 percent above the normal range over the previous decade.

Expectations are that supplies rose by another 3 million barrels last week. The Energy Department reports that figure on Wednesday.

At the gas pump, the average price for a gallon of gas nationwide fell to $3.34. That's 14 cents cheaper than a month ago and 33 cents less than at this time last year.

Brent crude, the international benchmark, gained 33 cents to $109.97 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline slipped 4 cents to $2.62 a gallon.

— Natural gas dropped 9 cents to $3.58 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Heating oil fell 1 cent to $3.00 a gallon.

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Pablo Gorondi in Budapest contributed to this report.

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