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Oil slides to near $86 ahead of key US jobs report

Associated Press Modified: June 1, 2012 at 2:31 am •  Published: May 31, 2012

SINGAPORE (AP) — Oil prices started June where they left off in May; heading down.

Crude slid to near $86 a barrel Friday in Asia, extending a month of sharp losses as traders looked ahead to a key U.S. jobs report amid signs of weakening economic growth.

Benchmark oil for July delivery was down 21 cents to $86.32 per barrel, the lowest since October, at late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.29 to settle at $86.53 in New York on Thursday.

In London, Brent crude for July delivery was down 5 cents at $101.82 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

Crude plunged more than 17 percent last month as traders worried slowing growth in the U.S., Europe and China would undermine global oil demand.

On Thursday, the U.S. reported that the economy grew by 1.9 percent in the first quarter, slower than first estimated. And the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose last week to a five-week high.

Investors will be closely watching non-farm payrolls data for May, which are scheduled to be released later Friday.

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