Oil rises on U.S. job data, Greek deal hopes

February 17, 2012 9:14 am 

NEW YORK, Feb. 17 — Crude prices rose as U.S. positive job data lifted market sentiment and there came a new round of hopes for Greek debt deal.

The U.S. Labor Department said that the initial jobless claims fell 13,000 in the week ended Feb. 11 to 348,000, the lowest level since March 2008. And the 4-week average fell for the 10th week in 11 weeks. More signs of an improving U.S. job market fueled oil demand expectation and boosted crude prices.

In Europe, euro zone central banks agreed to exchange Greek bonds they held for new bonds as part of a deal to help the debt-burdened country. This generated new hopes for Greece's debt bailout deal.

The euro got boosted on Thursday and rose about 0.6 percent against the dollar. The dollar index fell nearly 0.5 percent, making the crude less expensive and more attractive.

Further supports continued to come from the Middle East. Tension between Iran and Israel kept weighing the markets, posing threat to Iran's oil exports. Iran, the OPEC second largest oil exporter, expressed wills to resume the long-stalled nuclear talks, which was the core cause of all the tensions.

Light, sweet crude for March delivery gained 51 cents, or 0.50 percent to settle at 102.31 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, Brent crude also rose and last traded around 120 dollars a barrel. (PNA/Xinhua) DCT/mmg

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