Brent oil prices fell on Friday after key U.S. jobs data beat expectations, lifting the dollar broadly to multi-month highs against other currencies.

Brent crude was down 57 cents to $124.77 a barrel by 1436 GMT. On a weekly basis, Brent is set to show a marginal gain and its sixth weekly rise in seven weeks.

U.S. crude, which turned negative briefly, was up 10 cents at $106.68.

Data showed employment grew solidly for a third straight month in February, a sign the economic recovery was broadening and in less need of further monetary stimulus from the Federal Reserve.

Employers added 227,000 jobs to their payrolls last month, the Labor Department said on Friday, while the unemployment rate held at a three-year low of 8.3 percent - even as more people returned to the labor force.

Economists polled by Reuters expected payrolls to increase 210,000 last month and the jobless rate to be unchanged.

The dollar rose over 1 percent against the euro and to a 9-1/2 month high versus the yen.

The fall could be linked to the weaker euro or to optimism about talks with Iran, Christopher Bellew, a broker at Jefferies Bache, said.

And the market has been very strong. So a bit of consolidation may be in order.

Earlier on Friday, oil was supported by Greece's bond swap deal to stave off default and by data from top energy consumer China showing that annual inflation had cooled to a 20-month low, giving policymakers room to ease monetary policy to support slowing growth.

Reuters data shows Brent crude prices have risen about 17 percent so far this year and U.S. crude has gained about 8 percent, pushing up fuel prices across the world.

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu repeated the Obama administration's position that releasing crude oil from reserves in an effort to bring down rising gasoline prices was still an option on the table.

Chu's comment came although the International Energy Agency (IEA) said last week that it saw no need to release oil stockpiles.

The IEA advises 28 industrialized nations and the United States is a member.


Six world powers demanded Iran keep its promise to let international inspectors visit a military installation, where the U.N. nuclear watchdog says explosives tests geared to developing atomic bombs may have taken place.

The joint call was an unusual show of unity among the powers on Iran before a planned revival of high-level talks as well as a sign of widening disquiet about the nature of Tehran's nuclear ambitions, while Israel has been threatening last-ditch military action.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei welcomed comments by President Barack Obama about a diplomatic window of opportunity offered by the talks but said Washington's simultaneous moves to bring the Iranian people to their knees with sanctions were driven by delusion.