• Oil rises to 30-month high amid supply fear


    Oil rises to 30-month high amid supply fear

    NEW YORK: Oil prices jumped Friday as Middle East unrest kept supply threats in focus, pushing both Brent and US crude to their highest settlements since 2008.

    US non-farm payrolls registered solid growth for a second month in March and the jobless rate hit a two-year low of 8.8 percent, helping fuel optimism about oil demand.

    Geopolitical supply risks also had oil traders wary of being too short at the weekend, as Libya’s undecided conflict and Middle East unrest persist and elections near for OPEC-member Nigeria, brokers and analysts said.

    Oil prices also benefited from momentum after ending the first quarter posting double-digit quarterly gains.

    Brent crude for May rose $1.34 to settle at $118.70 a barrel, the highest close since August 2008 and up $3.11 for the week. It hit a May contract peak of $119 in post-settlement trading. Brent was up $3.11 for the week. Brent’s front-month 2-1/2-year high of $119.79 was struck on Feb. 24. Brent has bounced back after falling below $108 in the aftermath of Japan’s quake and tsunami.

    US crude rose $1.22 to settle at $107.94, pushing to $108.23 in post-settlement trading. Both the settlement and the intraday peak were the highest since September 2008. US crude took out the previous 2011 peak ahead of the jobs data. Total US crude trading volume topped 500,000 lots, but remained below the 30-day average.

    Brent, at more than 453,000 lots traded, was only 7.7 percent below its 30-day average.

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