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Oil rises near $84 with weak dollar

Oil prices rose near $84 a barrel today as the dollar weakened and oil traders shrugged off weak job news and a bigger-than-expected build in crude inventories.

Benchmark crude for May delivery climbed by $1.39 to settle at $83.76 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

“The bottom line is this is just a market that’s advancing in a relatively thin pre-holiday atmosphere,” said oil analyst Jim Ritterbusch. “The market is zeroing in on the fact that the dollar is weak.”

Even a surprisingly poor jobs report didn’t pull down oil prices. Payroll company ADP said employers slashed 23,000 private-sector jobs in March. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters forecast the report would show employers added 40,000 jobs during the month.

“This bad employment report reinforces the notion that interest rates will stay low for a longer period of time, thereby putting downward pressure on the U.S. dollar and upward pressure on oil prices,” said Phil Flynn, an analyst with PFGBest.

Flynn expects the Fed will not raise interest rates until the job market improves. The weaker greenback makes crude oil cheaper for holders of other currencies.

Crude prices trimmed some gains after the Energy Information Administration said crude inventories rose by 2.9 million barrels last week. Analysts expected a build of 2.65 million barrels.

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