Oil prices rise ahead of US jobs report

Oil prices climbed Friday ahead of a monthly U.S. jobs report that is expected to show a pickup in hiring.

Benchmark U.S. crude for May delivery was up 67 cents to $100.96 a barrel at 0915 GMT in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained 67 cents Thursday to close at $100.29.

The U.S. Labor Department releases its March employment report later Friday and it is expected to show that hiring bouncing back after severe cold dented job creation during the winter. Analysts forecast that employers added 195,000 jobs last month, according to a survey by FactSet. That would be the highest total in four months and up from 175,000 in February.

More people in employment typically results in higher energy and fuel consumption. Brent crude, used to set prices for international varieties of oil, rose 48 cents to $106.63 a barrel on the ICE exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading in New York: — Wholesale gasoline edged up 0.5 cent to $2.916 a gallon. — Natural gas fell 5.9 cents to $4.411 per 1,000 cubic feet. — Heating oil gained 1 cent to $2.917 a gallon.

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