10/21/2011 04:19 EDT | Updated 12/21/2011 05:12 EST

Crude oil rises to US$87.40 a barrel on encouraging economic news

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Oil prices rose Friday on encouraging economic news from the United States and Europe, raising hopes for stronger demand in the months to come.

Benchmark crude rose $1.33 to finish the day at US$87.40 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price many international kinds of oil, fell 20 cents to end at US$109.56 a barrel in London.

Benchmark crude prices rose as European finance ministers approved the next round of bailout loans for Greece, which should head off a disastrous default that could impact other countries in the region and slow their economies.

In the U.S., the government said jobless rates fell in half of the states last month as hiring picked up. That pointed to rising demand for oil and gas as unemployment lines shrink.

In other energy trading, heating oil fell 1.26 cents to finish at US$3.0175 a U.S. gallon (3.79 litres). Gasoline futures rose about a penny to end at US$2.6846 a gallon. Natural gas was virtually unchanged at $3.6290 per thousand cubic feet.