Oil eases ahead of US jobs figures

Bangkok - The price of oil eased slightly Friday, reflecting caution as investors wait for the latest US employment figures.

Benchmark oil for April delivery was down 24 cents to $91.33 per barrel at midday Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

An oil rig is shown in this file photo. Credit: FREE IMAGES

The contract gained $1.13 to finish at $91.56 a barrel on Nymex on Thursday, pushed higher by the release of data showing a drop in applications for unemployment benefits in the US.

On Friday, the US Commerce Department will release jobs data for February. Analysts expect the report to show that employers in the US, the biggest consumer of oil and petroleum products, added 152,000 jobs last month.

Brent crude, used to price many kinds of oil imported by US refineries, fell 31 cents at $110.84 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:

- Wholesale gasoline rose 0.7 cent to $3.13 a gallon.

- Heating oil fell 0.8 cent to $2.971 a gallon.

- Natural gas rose 0.1 cent to $3.583 per 1,000 cubic feet. - Sapa-AP