Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for June delivery rose $2.21 to close at US$93.64 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil fell to a year low of US$86.68 last week, but has since risen for six straight days, increasing $6.96, or eight per cent.
Thursday morning, the U.S. Labour Department said the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell last week to a seasonally adjusted 339,000, the second-fewest in more than five years. The drop suggests that layoffs have declined, which is a positive sign for gasoline demand.
Brent crude, which is used to price oil used by many U.S. refiners, rose $1.68 to $103.41 a barrel on the ICE futures exchange in London.
In other energy futures trading on the Nymex, wholesale gasoline rose six cents to US$2.81 a U.S. gallon (3.79 litres), heating oil added six cents to US$2.90 a gallon and natural gas was flat at $4.17 per 1,000 cubic feet.
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