Oil near $84 on better than expected US jobs data

October 10, 2011 - 12:35 AM

SINGAPORE (AP) — Oil prices rose to near $84 a barrel Monday in Asia amid better than expected U.S. jobs data and signs Europe may move to protect its banks from a sovereign debt crisis.

Benchmark crude for November delivery was up 64 cents at $83.62 a barrel at midday Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract climbed 39 cents to settle at $82.98 in New York on Friday.

Brent crude was up 20 cents at $106.08 a barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange in London.

The Labor Department said Friday that the U.S. economy added 103,000 jobs last month, more than economists had forecast. Analysts have been concerned in recent months that a sluggish job market could portend a recession in the second half.

A debt crisis in Europe and its possible impact on global economic growth has undermined investor confidence, sending crude to a 12-month low last week at $75.

But prices have bounced back amid speculation European leaders may be prepared a major capitalization of the region's banks to safeguard them against a possible default by some member states.

"As we reach a critical juncture for the world economy, it may seem odd to talk about higher, rather than lower prices," J.P. Morgan said in a report. "But our analysis suggests that Brent oil prices could still move higher over the next two years, reaching $130 at the end of 2013."

In other Nymex trading, heating oil fell 0.5 cent to $2.85 per gallon and gasoline futures added 0.7 cent to $2.65 per gallon. Natural gas shed 0.3 cent to $3.48 per 1,000 cubic feet.