BUSINESS

Oil above $103 a barrel, boosted by US data on unemployment and growth

09/26/2013 05:02 EDT | Updated 11/26/2013 05:12 EST
NEW YORK, N.Y. - The price of oil rose for the first time in six days Thursday on upbeat news about the U.S. economy.

Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for November delivery gained 37 cents to close at US$103.03 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil had dropped $5.41, or five per cent, over the five previous trading sessions.

Oil prices rose as data showed that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell 5,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 305,000, the second-lowest level in six years. The U.S. economy, meanwhile, was confirmed to have grown an annualized 2.5 per cent rate in the April-June period.

Oil has fallen nearly seven per cent since closing at a two-year high of US$110.53 on Sept. 6. Since then, diplomatic efforts have averted a U.S. military strike against Syria, and tense relations between the U.S. and Iran have shown signs of a thaw. As a result, the market has removed the so-called political risk premium from the price of oil. Some analysts put this premium at about $5 to $6 a barrel.

Brent crude, the benchmark for international crudes used by many U.S. refineries, rose 89 cents to US$109.21 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex, wholesale gasoline rose three cents to US$2.71 a U.S. gallon (3.79 litres), heating oil rose three cents to US$3 a gallon and natural gas rose one cent to US$3.50 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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