NEW YORK, March 11 (Xinhua) -- No major data were released on Monday. Crude prices little changed as U.S. strong job data of February sparked concerns that Federal Reserve would tighten its loose monetary policy earlier.
The U.S. jobless rate of February fell to a four-year low of 7. 7 percent. according to the Labor Department. U.S. employment rose 236,000 in February after a revised 119,000 gain in January, which is far more than market expectation.
Analysts expected the improved job market may lead to an earlier end to the Fed's quantitative easing. The record low interest rates of U.S. help to draw money away from bonds and into stocks and commodities.
The market was weighed down by China's inflation data during the early trading session. China's consumer price index in February jumped to a 10-month high of 3.2 percent due to higher food and goods prices during the Spring Festival season, China's National Bureau of Statistics said Saturday.
Prices for commodities such as oil fell sharply in February. The investment bank Goldman Sachs turned bullish on commodities on Monday, lifting up its commodities short-term return forecast from 2 percent to 6 percent.
"Petroleum's strong near-term fundamentals, owing to a combination of limited spare OPEC capacities and solid emerging market demand growth, will continue to lend support to a backwardation for Brent and key product markets. Expected pipeline debottlenecking in the U.S. in second quarter of 2013 will also support higher WTI prices during the summer," Goldman analysts wrote in a note.
Light, sweet crude for April delivery gained 11 cents, or 0.12 percent to settle at 92.06 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
While Brent crude for April delivery edged down 73 cents or 0. 66 percent to close at 110.12 dollars a barrel.