Oil prices weaken at end of week

SINGAPORE: World oil prices fell in the wake of weaker-than-expected US jobs data and at the end of a volatile week for global financial markets.

New York’s main futures contract, light sweet crude for delivery in March, lost 34 cents to 72.80 dollars a barrel. London’s Brent North Sea crude for March dropped 69 cents to 71.44 dollars per barrel.

Oil had also fallen in earlier trade amid slumping equities and a stronger dollar caused by European debt fears. Crude futures had slumped nearly four dollars on Thursday, mirroring plunging global stock markets, as the dollar strengthened after a surprise rise in US initial weekly jobless and a deepening debt crisis in Europe.

The euro bounced back above 1.37 dollars on Friday after the US jobs data, having earlier struck a near nine-month low at 1.3648 dollars as risk-averse investors moved into the safe-haven greenback.

Earlier this week, oil prices had soared as equity markets put in strong performances and manufacturing data from the United States reassured nervous investors.

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