Oil prices buoyed by US jobs, Greek debt deal

Oil prices on NYMEX rose above $107 per barrel on optimism about the world economy. Oil prices in London gained 54 cents to close at nearly $126.

Charlie Riedel/AP
A pumping unit sucks oil from the ground near Greensburg, Kan., Tuesday. On Friday, benchmark oil prices gained 82 cents on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Crude oil futures rose past $108 a barrel Friday as Greece has cleared a major hurdle in its race to avoid bankruptcy and a key jobs report showed U.S. employers completed three of the best months of hiring since the recession ended.

Benchmark oil for April delivery rose by 82 cents to settle at $107.40 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after hitting a day high of $108.20 earlier in the trading session.

In London, Brent crude gained 54 cents to end the day at $125.98 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

Greece persuaded the vast majority of its private creditors to sign up to the biggest national debt writedown in history, paving the way for a second massive bailout.

In the U.S., employers added 227,000 jobs in February and the unemployment rate stayed at 8.3 percent last month, the lowest in three years. The U.S., the world's largest oil consumer, has seen the strongest three months of job growth since the Great Recession. An improving economy is likely to lead to more demand foroil.

Crude has jumped from $75 in October and $96 last month as the U.S. economic recovery gathers momentum and Europe's debt crisis shows signs of stabilizing.

Simmering tensions over Iran's nuclear program have kept crude near 10-month highs. On Thursday, an Israeli official said satellite images back Israel's contention that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon. Iran says its nuclear capabilities are for peaceful purposes.

In other energy trading in New York, natural gas futures rose by 5 cents to end at $2.32 per 1,000 cubic feet a day. Earlier in the week, natural gas dropped to the lowest level in 10 years following a relatively warm winter and a boom in U.S. production.

Heating oil fell by less than a cent to finish at $3.26 per gallon and gasoline futures rose 2 cents to end at $3.33 per gallon.

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