Oil rises on positive US jobs data

February 4th, 2012 - 5:28 pm ICT by IANS  

New York, Feb 4 (IANS) Crude oil prices rose as the US jobs data for January came in better than expected, Xinhua reported.

The Labor Department reported that US non-farm jobs added 243,000 in January, the largest increase since April 2011.

And the unemployment rate dropped to 8.3 percent, the lowest level in almost three years.

Both figures were far better than what the market had expected, fuelling hopes Friday that oil demand would go up in the world’s largest oil consuming country.

Meanwhile, intensified tensions between Israel and Iran pushed crude prices even higher.

The US and Europe have imposed harsh sanctions targeting Iran’s oil exports, with an intent to isolate and bring down its economy.

But Israeli leaders urged even harsher measures against Iran and warned that military action remained a clear option if sanctions failed.

The US assessed that there was a strong likelihood that Israel would attack Iran’s nuclear program within the next six months. Geopolitical pressure continuously provided lifts to crude prices.

But concerns about Europe’s debt problems and Greece debt talks kept weighing on the markets and limited the gains.

Light, sweet crude for March delivery gained $1.48, or 1. 54 percent to settle at $97.84 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, snapping the streak of five straight declining sessions. In London, Brent crude for March delivery jumped $2.51, or 2.24 percent, to $114.58 a barrel.

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