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Oil at US$100 on US recovery hope

Oil hovered near US$100 a barrel Monday on hopes that the U.S. economic recovery can be sustained despite January's poor payrolls report.

Benchmark U.S. crude for March delivery was down 9 cents to US$99.79 a barrel at 0830 GMT in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil gained US$2.04 to close at US$99.88 on Friday.

The Labor Department reported that 113,000 jobs were created in January, far below market expectations of 175,000 jobs. This followed a weak 75,000 jobs created in December.

But unemployment dipped to 6.6 percent, the lowest rate since the global financial crisis hit in late 2008, and more people sought jobs. It suggested that people are feeling better about their prospects and that hiring was depressed by the bad weather.

The mixed data also saw some investors hoping that the Federal Reserve may put off plans to further reduce its stimulus.

Brent crude, used to set prices for international varieties of crude, fell 53 cents to US$109.04 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading in New York:

— Wholesale gasoline added 0.6 cent to US$2.743 a gallon.

— Heating oil shed 1.2 cents to US$3.039 a gallon.

— Natural gas lost 6.5 cents to US$4.71 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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