BANGKOK – Oil was little changed near $94 a barrel Friday despite a pickup in China's trade as investors awaited a U.S. jobs report.
Benchmark crude for December delivery was up 20 cents at $94.40 a barrel at early afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 60 cents to $94.20 on Thursday after the dollar rose on an unexpected European Central Bank rate cut and OPEC forecast rising oil supplies in coming years.
A possible sign that demand for oil could increase came from China where October trade data showed growth in overall imports accelerating.
But the broader backdrop of ample supplies and muted demand, which has driven a monthlong slide in the oil price, continues to prevail.
A report on U.S. hiring for October due later Friday is expected to show employment growing a modest pace.
Brent crude, the international benchmark for oil, was down 35 cents at $103.11 a barrel on the ICE exchange in London.
In other energy futures trading on Nymex:
— Wholesale gasoline was little changed at $2.504 a gallon.
— Heating oil was steady at $2.839 a gallon.
— Natural gas was unchanged at $3.519 per 1,000 cubic feet.