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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