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Oil prices climb after encouraging US jobs report

AFP | Last Updated: Saturday, March 8, 2014 - 09:08

New York: Oil prices surged higher on Friday, pushed up by better-than-expected US jobs numbers and tensions over the Ukraine crisis.

New York`s main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in April, gained USD 1.02 a barrel, closing at USD 102.58.

In London trade, Brent North Sea crude for April settled at USD 109.00 a barrel, a rise of 90 cents from Thursday's close.

WTI, already trading higher, extended its gains after the US jobs report exceeded expectations that in large part had been framed by a series of weak data linked to bad winter weather.

The US economy added 175,000 jobs in February, the Labor Department said, and it upwardly revised the prior two months` job growth by 25,000.

"People were not expecting so many jobs to be added with all the weak data news lately," said Michael Lynch of Strategic Energy and Economic Research.

"There was some fear that the economy would enter a slowdown. With the new jobs added, it looks like that maybe the prospects are brighter for the second quarter."

A positive US jobs report raises expectations for stronger demand in the US.

The geopolitical uncertainty from the Ukraine crisis, meanwhile, also helped support oil prices.

"Who wants to be short over the weekend with the Ukraine on the brink?" said Phil Flynn of Price Futures Group.

The United States and Western European powers are furious at Moscow`s support for a referendum in Crimea calling for the region to break from Ukraine and join Russia.

"The complications arising from Eastern Europe (are) likely to provide good support to crude oil due to fears over disruptions," said analyst Tan Chee Tat at Phillip Futures in Singapore.

First Published: Saturday, March 8, 2014 - 09:06
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