Oil rises slightly -
August 7th, 2012
The price of oil rose slightly today following its biggest gain in more than a month. Oil gained almost 5% on Friday after the US government reported a surge in jobs growth last month, increasing optimism that the economy is on the right track.
Benchmark US crude rose 64 cents to USD 92.04 per barrel in afternoon trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude rose 18 cents to USD 109.12 per barrel in London. Friday's surprisingly positive jobs report was still weighing heavily on investors' minds today.
The pickup in hiring last month was far greater than analysts were expecting and marked the biggest increase since February. Still, the number of jobs added wasn't enough that investors are ruling out some sort of economic stimulus measures by the Federal Reserve.
Oil has gained nearly 20% since hitting a low of USD 77.69 in late June. That's meant higher pump prices for US motorists during the summer driving season. The price of retail gas has increased about 29 cents since July 1, but it's still below what it was a year ago.
Prices at the pump rose 5 cents over the weekend to a US average of USD 3.619 per gallon (95 cents a liter), according to AAA, Wright Express and the Oil Price Information Service. Much of the increase was due to a spike in gas prices in the Midwest, where pipeline and refinery problems helped jack up pump prices last week by about 40 cents or more in some parts of Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin.
In other energy futures trading in New York, wholesale gasoline fell 1.15 cents to USD 2.9195 a gallon; heating oil rose 1.27 cents to USD 2.9388 a gallon; and natural gas fell was flat at about USD 2.88 per 1,000 cubic feet.