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Fri 5 Aug 2011 11:29 AM

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Oil prices rebound from the lowest since June

Better than expected news on US jobs ease fears about world's largest economy and oil consumer

Oil prices rebound from the lowest since June
The New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) is the worlds largest physical commodity futures exchange.

Brent crude rose to above $108 a barrel on Friday, rebounding from the lowest since June, supported by better-than-expected news on US jobs that eased concern about the health of the world's largest economy and oil consumer.

Prices extended an earlier gain after the Labour Department said U.S. payrolls increased by 117,000 in July, above expectations. Crude rose from its session low on reports of an explosion on an oil pipeline in Iran.

Brent was up $1.39 at $108.64 a barrel at 5pm UAE time, having earlier fallen to $104.30, the lowest since June 27, on concern demand will weaken as US growth falters and Europe's debt crisis worsens. It fell almost $6 in the previous session.

"A quick glance at the latest jobs report shows it is positive, better than expected. But whether the market will be able to stem its downslide after the recent stream of negative economic data remains to be seen," said Gene McGillian, analyst at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.

US crude was down 15 cents at $86.48 in choppy trade. The US benchmark earlier plunged as low as $82.87, the lowest since November 26, after sliding almost 6 percent on Thursday.

Oil also rose as an Iranian pipeline explosion in the early hours on Friday shut flows of up to 40,000 barrels per day (bpd). Iran is the second-largest OPEC producer after Saudi Arabia.

"It's a bit wild to say the least," said Rob Montefusco, a trader at Sucden Financial. "It was carnage first thing this morning, and then we had this explosion in Iran, which has sent it straight back up again."

Other markets rebounded from earlier declines after the US jobs data released on Friday.

European shares briefly turned positive after hitting a 14-month low and US stocks - a day after suffering their worst selloff since the middle of the financial crisis in early 2009 - opened higher.

Some investors had warned even a strong jobs report would not be enough to allay concerns about the oil demand outlook.

"Even if today's employment numbers are better than expected, the markets probably need much more to recover," said Tetsu Emori, a fund manager at Tokyo-based Astmax Co Ltd, before the jobs report was released.

"People should be very nervous, and they should think that oil demand will be less than expectations."

The leaders of Germany, France and Spain were to hold crisis talks about Europe's spiralling debt crisis on Friday after China and Japan called for global policy cooperation following the market rout.

There are increasing signs oil demand is being eroded, in part because of high prices. Barclays Capital, one of the most bullish on oil prices, has trimmed its global demand growth forecast for this year.

Before Friday's rally, commodity benchmark the Reuters-Jefferies CRB index was down more than 4 percent for the week, its biggest drop since losing nearly 9 percent in May's across-the-board slide, also fueled by global growth concerns.

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