Pump jacks and wells are seen in a California oil field
London - AFP
Oil prices fell Friday on weaker global growth concerns triggered by a weak US jobs report, reversing earlier gains as a hurricane risked threatening refineries on the US east coast.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in November delivery dropped 59 cents to $44.15 a barrel compared with Thursday's close.
Brent North Sea crude for November shed 63 cents to stand at $47.06 a barrel in late London trade.
Following a poorly-received US jobs report, Fawad Razaqzada, analyst at trading group Gain Capital, said "investors are clearly now worried about weakening economic growth".
"With China already struggling and growth remaining lacklustre in Europe, future demand for oil may not be as strong as had been previously anticipated," he told AFP.
The US job market faltered in September and hiring in prior months was slower than thought, the Labor Department said Friday in a report pointing to a slowing economy.
The September jobs report gave a downbeat picture of the jobs market as the Federal Reserve considers its first interest-rate hike in more than nine years, and suggested the economy was being impacted by concerns about China's economic slowdown, which has roiled financial markets in recent months.
US jobs growth came in at 142,000 jobs in September, well below analyst estimates of 205,000.
Oil prices had risen earlier Friday on concerns Hurricane Joaquin would change direction and threaten oil refineries and storage facilities in the US east coast.
But as Joaquin, packing fierce winds and driving rain, bore down on the Bahamas Friday, the US East Coast breathed a tentative sigh of relief amid forecasts the storm would stay out to sea.
"We expect to see traders take positions in the event the hurricane changes path over the weekend," Daniel Ang, an investment analyst with Phillip Futures in Singapore, had said earlier.
"This would likely put some upside for oil prices."