U.S. oil rose more than $1 a barrel on Friday as tensions lingered in Ukraine and a report that U.S. job growth accelerated by more than expected in February offset a seasonal slowdown in demand for crude.
U.S. non-farm payrolls rose by 175,000 in February, more than the 149,000 that was expected and more than in January and December, data from the U.S. Labor Department showed on Friday.
The Ukraine crisis escalated as President Vladimir Putin rebuffed a warning from U.S. President Barack Obama over Moscow's military intervention in Crimea. Russian leaders bridled at sanctions imposed by the EU and United States, and ridiculed calls for talks between it and Ukraine with Western mediation.
U.S. crude rose $1.02 to settle at $102.58 a barrel, while global benchmark Brent rose 70 cents to near $109 a barrel. U.S. oil was on track for its eighth, albeit slight, week of gains in a row. Brent was on track for its second week of declines, despite ongoing supply disruptions in Libya.
Political tensions aside, analysts see the onset of spring in the northern hemisphere, bringing warmer weather and refinery maintenance, as likely to curb demand and limit price gains. Oil jumped on Monday after military intervention by Russia, one of the world's top oil exporters, on the Crimean peninsula. Brent has fallen from Monday's high above $112 as the risk of war faded.
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