LONDON - Global oil prices sank this week to an eight-month low in New York on high US crude and product stockpiles that indicated supplies continue to outpace demand.

Commodity markets also reacted on Friday to weaker-than-expected key economic data in the United States, which is a major consumer of raw materials.

The US added a paltry 74,000 jobs in December, in a slowdown in employment creation that dampened hopes that the world’s biggest economy has moved into higher gear. The Labor Department data was far below the 197,000 jobs economists had expected, and less than half the monthly average of the past 12 months.

OIL: New York’s main oil contract West Texas Intermediate plunged on Thursday to $91.66 per barrel, a level last seen on May 1. The US Energy Information Administration reported Wednesday that crude stockpiles fell last week by a smaller amount than analysts had expected.

“The (price) weakness was partly due to concerns about the excess supply of oil in the US, which came to the forefront once again after crude inventories showed a smaller reduction than had been priced in,” said analyst Fawad Razaqzada.

“What’s more, the opening of a major oilfield in Libya meant concerns about disruption of supply in that region had eased a tad.” Oil prices are likely to face further downward pressure, with Libyan output up to 546,000 barrels a day from 250,000 barrels a day previously. Despite the increase in output, analysts do not expect Libya to return to its previous output of 1.4 million barrels soon. By Friday on London’s Intercontinental Exchange, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in February dropped to $106.33 a barrel from $108.25 a week earlier. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate or light sweet crude for February fell to $92.27 a barrel from $95.45. Gold supported by weak dollar

PRECIOUS METALS: Gold and silver prices rose on the back of the weaker greenback, as disappointing payrolls data sparked speculation that the US Federal Reserve could delay further tapering of its stimulus. “Gold has been among the beneficiaries of a weaker dollar after the December nonfarm payrolls report missed expectations quite badly,” added Razaqzada.

“The dollar fell and that helped to boost buck-denominated precious metals.”

The US Federal Reserve will start cutting its vast $85-billion-a-month QE stimulus programme this month by $10 billion, in a sign of confidence in the nation’s economic recovery. However, Friday’s data did not appear to give the central bank more ammunition to further cut its stimulus soon, dealers said. “The unexpectedly poor US employment number has given gold and silver prices a significant boost ... raising the prospect that any further stimulus reduction could well have to wait until March at the earliest,” added CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson. The weaker greenback makes dollar-priced commodities cheaper for buyers using stronger currencies. That tends to stimulate demand and prices.

By late Friday on the London Bullion Market, the price of gold rose to $1,244.25 an ounce from $1,234.50 a week earlier.

Silver eased to $19.80 an ounce from $20.18. On the London Platinum and Palladium Market, platinum increased to $1,425 an ounce from $1,388. Palladium advanced to $737 an ounce from $723.

BASE METALS: Base or industrial metals prices mostly fell, with sentiment hit by the US payrolls numbers, but aluminium and copper losses were capped by news of buoyant Chinese imports. By Friday on the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months slid to $7,306 a tonne from $7,341 a week earlier. Three-month aluminium fell to $1,768 a tonne from $1,798. Three-month lead dropped to $2,131 a tonne from $2,204.

Three-month tin gained to $21,950 a tonne from $21,550. Three-month nickel slipped to $13,752 a tonne from $13,846.

Three-month zinc declined to $2,035.75 a tonne from $2,051.75. COFFEE: Prices rose, approaching a five-month peak in New York, as the market won support from stubborn supply worries in key producer Brazil. “The 2014 crop in Brazil may fail to live up to expectations,” said Commerzbank analysts. “Recently, a trading company even expressed the view that production could collapse.” By Friday on the ICE Futures US exchange, Arabica for delivery in March gained to 118.75 US cents a pound from 111.65 cents a week earlier. On LIFFE, Robusta for March rallied to $1,714 a tonne from $1,596. Sugar plunges to 2010 lows

SUGAR: Prices dived to their lowest level since 2010 as investors fretted over the weak Brazilian currency and the prospect of plentiful supplies. Sugar struck three-and-a-half-year lows at $424.30 per tonne in London and 15.41 US cents per pound in New York. “The raw sugar price has dropped to its lowest level since June 2010,” Commerzbank analysts said.

“A weaker Brazilian real is generating selling pressure-it is again nearing the lows it hit in August 2013 and is thus contributing to higher sugar supply from Brazil, the world’s largest exporter.

“Furthermore, Thailand-the number two exporter-has reported a promising start to its harvest.” By Friday on LIFFE, the price of a tonne of white sugar for March slipped to $424.90 from $443 a week earlier. On the ICE Futures US exchange in New York, the price of unrefined sugar for delivery in March fell to 15.50 US cents a pound from 16.24 cents.

COCOA: Futures continued to advance on the bright demand outlook for the commodity that is mostly used to make chocolate. “The overall fundamental picture should support generally strong prices as the supply situation should be tight on strong demand for the longer term,” said Price Futures Group analyst Jack Scoville. “Ideas are that demand can remain above production for at least the next couple of years. Much of the increased demand should come from Asia.”

By Friday on LIFFE, London’s futures exchange, cocoa for delivery in March climbed to £1,726 a tonne from £1,677 a week earlier.

On ICE Futures US, cocoa for March increased to $2,697 a tonne from $2,636.

RUBBER: Malaysian rubber prices fell due to the continued strengthening of the local currency, the ringgit.

The Malaysian Rubber Board’s benchmark SMR20 dropped to 219.80 US cents a kilo from 225.50 cents the previous week.