Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for June delivery was up $1.61 at US$95.60 a barrel in late morning trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Oil jumped after the U.S. Labour Department said that employers added a solid 165,000 jobs in April — and far more in February and March than first thought. Job growth in April drove down the unemployment rate to a four-year low of 7.5 per cent and sent a reassuring sign that the U.S. jobs market is improving.
Oil started the week around US$93 a barrel, and, after a brief retreat below $91 at midweek, kept pushing higher. Crude rose sharply Thursday after the European Central Bank cut its key interest rate to a new low and weekly U.S. unemployment benefit claims dropped.
"The recent rebound in crude oil prices is a result of more confidence in the global economy as ECB and Fed decisions to stimulate growth could bring a boost in oil demand for the second half of 2013," said analysts at Sucden Financial Research in London.
Oil is getting support from a weaker dollar as well. The euro was at $1.3114 Friday versus $1.3067 late Thursday. Because oil is bought and sold in dollars, it becomes attractive to investors with other currencies when the dollar falls in value.
Brent crude, which is used to set prices of oil from the North Sea used by many U.S. refiners, was up $1.75 to US$104.60 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
In other energy futures trading on the Nymex, wholesale gasoline rose three cents to US$2.82 a U.S. gallon (3.79 litres), heating oil added four cents to US$2.89 a gallon and natural gas rose a penny to US$4.04 per 1,000 cubic feet.
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