The Associated Press
The price of crude oil slipped for a seventh straight day Friday as expectations of increased supply offset strong U.S. employment growth.
Benchmark U.S. crude for August delivery was down 10 cents at $103.96 a barrel at 0725 GMT in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 42 cents to $104.06 on Thursday.
Crude fell despite signs the U.S. economy is steadily improving, which typically would increase demand for oil.
The U.S. government reported that employers added 288,000 workers to their payrolls in June and the unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent. The U.S. economy is now creating about 231,000 jobs each month in 2014, compared to roughly 194,000 a month last year.
Oil, however, has continued to fall as possible disruptions to supplies from Iraq, which is OPEC’s second biggest producer, haven’t materialized.
On top of that, an agreement in Libya between the central government and a regional militia was expected to lead to the reopening of two eastern oil terminals that would boost the country’s crude exports by about 500,000 barrels a day.
In recent weeks, oil prices were largely driven by concerns that violence in Iraq, OPEC’s second-largest producer, would disrupt supplies. Oil reached a 10-month closing high of $107.26 on June 20 but since then the stunning advance by insurgents from the Islamic State group has lost momentum.
Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, was up 11 cents to $111.11 a barrel on the ICE exchange in London.
In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:
— Wholesale gasoline was down 0.7 cent at $3.017 a gallon.
— Natural gas rose 3 cents to $4.387 per 1,000 cubic feet.
— Heating oil fell 2.2 cents to $2.925 a gallon.