Oil falls on Iran talks, weak U.S. jobs data

Mon Apr 9, 2012 4:19pm EDT
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By Robert Gibbons

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices fell in light volume on Monday as revived talks on Iran's nuclear program eased fears of supply disruption, while slowing U.S. jobs growth sparked concern about demand for fuel.

Negotiations between Iran and world powers over Tehran's disputed nuclear program are slated on April 14 in Istanbul. The resumption of talks after more than a year tempered worries about an immediate cut in supply.

U.S. markets reacted to U.S. jobs data released on Friday when markets were shut to observe Good Friday. The employment report showed job growth slowed to 120,000 in March, well below expectations and the smallest increase since October.

Brent May crude fell 76 cents to settle at $122.67 a barrel, having dropped as low as $121.02 and tested below the 50-day moving average of $121.60.

U.S. May crude lost 85 cents to settle at $102.46 a barrel, after testing below the 100-day moving average of $101.61 and recovering from a low of $100.81.

U.S. RBOB gasoline futures slumped more than 4 cents, pressured by the sluggish employment data. Heating oil futures declined by more than 2 cents.

Brent's premium to U.S. crude edged up slightly to $20.21 a barrel based on settlements.

Trading was lackluster, with some investors still on holiday. Total Brent and U.S. crude turnover, as well as volumes for U.S. RBOB gasoline and heating oil, were well below their 30-day averages.   Continued...

Gas prices are shown at a gas station in Beverly Hills, California May 20, 2008. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson