Oil prices up in Asian trade

SINGAPORE: Oil prices rose in Asia Monday but gains were capped as a disappointing US jobs report tempered sentiment about demand in the world´s top crude consumer, analysts said.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for October delivery rose 19 cents to $93.48 while Brent crude for October gained five cents to $100.87 in afternoon trade. “The unexpectedly weak US jobs number puts doubt in the US economic outlook and in turn, weakened oil demand,” Singapore´s United Overseas Bank said in a note.

The Labor Department said Friday the US added 142,000 new jobs in August, snapping a six-month streak of more than 200,000 jobs per a month and far below the 223,000 tipped by analysts.

The data supported the view that the world´s biggest economy is still struggling to pick up speed, and that wages remain very flat, holding back consumer spending.

Desmond Chua, market analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore, said markets are likely to trade sideways this week due to a dearth of trading cues. “We see a rather muted week of data, with markets likely to take direction from geopolitical factors like the ceasefire in Ukraine at the forefront,” Chua said.

Fighting around two flashpoint cities in eastern Ukraine on Sunday rattled a tenuous truce between government troops and pro-Russian rebels less than 48 hours after it came into force. Western nations have warned of more sanctions against Moscow for its support of the pro-Kremlin insurgents in the civil war, which has cost about 2,600 lives. Russian President Vladimir Putin has so far denied any direct involvement in the months-long conflict. The conflict is closely watched by crude investors as Russia is the number-two oil producer in the world, and Ukraine is a key conduit for Moscow´s gas exports to Europe.

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