Benchmark oil for April delivery dipped to US$91.7 a barrel on the Nymex. The contract rose 39 cents to finish at US$91.95 a barrel on Friday after the U.S. government said employers added 236,000 jobs in February, far exceeding predictions. The unemployment rate fell to 7.7% from 7.9%. Stronger jobs growth in USA sparked speculation of an earlier end to the Federal Reserve's loose monetary policy, as per Associated Press. It could also signal an earlier end to the Federal Reserve's bond-buying program (quantitative easing), which has been instrumental in propping up the U.S. economy since the 2008 global financial crisis.
Last week, the death on Tuesday of President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, which sits on the world's second-largest oil reserves, has had little immediate effect on the price of oil so far. Chavez oversaw a decline in oil production during his 14 years as the leader of Venezuela. Traders are anxious to see if the new government invites foreign investment in Venezuela's oil industry and is able to boost output.