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NYMEX June crude flirts with $69/b as oil futures rise; ICE July Brent higher at $74.19/b


Oil futures rose Friday morning in US trading, with front-month NYMEX crude ontrack to close at a fresh three-year high, despite a stronger dollar in thewake of monthly US jobs data.

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At 1501 GMT, NYMEX June crude was 56 cents higher at $68.99/b. ICE July Brentwas up 57 cents at $74.19/b.

NYMEX June ULSD was 2.33 cents higher at $2.1360/gal. NYMEX June RBOB was 2.01cents higher at $2.1076/gal.

The US unemployment rate dropped to 3.9% in April, below 4% for first timeDecember 2000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There were 164,000jobs added last month, marking the 91st consecutive month of jobs increases,while March was revised upward by 32,000. But hourly earnings increased by2.7% year on year, unchanged from the March revised figure, the monthly jobsreport showed.

BBH analysts said flat wage growth shouldn't dissuade Federal Reserveofficials from raising interest rates at the next policy meeting June 12-13."The US jobs report was broadly disappointing," the note said. "However, theFederal Reserve will look through it and investors should too. A June hike isstill by far the most likely scenario."

The US Dollar Index strengthened on the jobs data, touching 92.9 at onepoint, its highest level since December 28. At 1501, the dollar index was0.336 point higher at 92.75.

The dollar has rallied against a basket of major currencies over the last twoweeks, as traders focus on the Fed's hawkish stance relative to other centralbanks in England, Europe and Japan. A stronger dollar is considered bearishfor commodities, and could account for some of the resistance facing crudefutures.

Front-month NYMEX crude topped $68/b April 18 for the first time sinceDecember 2014, but since then has been bound in a tight range, unable to breakabove $70/b.

"The back-and-forth action has left short-term technical indicators stuck inneutral, while maintaining the longer-term bullish trend," TAC Energy said.

--Geoffrey Craig,

--Edited by Valarie Jackson,