Oil prices dropped nearly 4 percent on Thursday as the United States lost more jobs in June than expected.
Light, sweet crude for August delivery fell 2.58 U.S. dollars, or 3.7 percent, to settle at 66.73 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after earlier touching a month-low of 66.50 dollars.
According to a Labor Department report, U.S. job losses surged to 467,000 in June, pushing the unemployment rate to a new 26-yearhigh of 9.5 percent. The losses far exceeded analysts’ prediction of 363,000, which dampened hopes for an early recovery from recession.
Losses on equities markets and gains in the dollar against the euro also encouraged selling in the commodities markets. The market is closed on Friday for the July Fourth U.S. Independence Day holiday.
In London, Brent crude for August delivery dropped 2.11 dollars, or 3.1 percent, to 66.68 dollars a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.