Oil price surge: Up 7% this week

oil pricesClick chart for more on oil and other commodity prices By Ben Rooney, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Oil prices rose more than 2% Friday, climbing above $104 a barrel, as the turmoil in Libya showed no sign of abating.

The benchmark U.S. oil contract, West Texas Intermediate, jumped $2.51, or 2.5%, to settle at $104.42 a barrel for April delivery. Oil prices are currently trading at the highest levels since September 2008, having jumped 6.7% just this week.

Brent crude, the main oil contract in Europe, climbed $1.55 to $116.34 a barrel.

Oil prices eased Thursday following reports that Venezuela could mediate the crisis in Libya, where fighting between rebels and forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi continued to rage Friday.

But the advance resumed Friday following reports of renewed clashes in Tripoli, the capital city where Gadhafi maintains control. In addition, traders have questioned Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez's ability to calm the unrest in Libya.

"We are hearing rumors that Hugo Chavez will broker peace and bring stability to Libya... let's just say we're skeptical," said Stephen Schork, publisher of the energy industry newsletter The Schork Report.

Trading in the oil market has been volatile in recent weeks, as investors remain worried about potential supply disruptions if the chaos in Libya spreads to other oil producing nations in North Africa and the Middle East.

The International Energy Agency estimated Friday that roughly 1 million barrels per day of Libyan oil have been taken off the world market so far. Libya exported 1.6 million barrels per day in 2010.

Saudi Arabia and other members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries have pledged to increase production to make up for any lost oil due to unrest in Libya.

Meanwhile, the U.S. economy added 192,000 jobs in February, up sharply from 63,000 the month before, the Labor Department said. The unemployment rate unexpectedly eased to 8.9%.

The jobs report, one of the most highly anticipated on Wall Street, was better than expected. Economists surveyed by CNNMoney had predicted an increase of 190,000 jobs in February, while the unemployment rate was expected to rise to 9.2%.  To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed3.90%3.85%
15 yr fixed3.07%3.00%
5/1 ARM3.14%3.02%
30 yr refi3.96%3.92%
15 yr refi3.12%3.10%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 18,232.02 -53.72 -0.29%
Nasdaq 5,089.36 -1.43 -0.03%
S&P 500 2,126.06 -4.76 -0.22%
Treasuries 2.22 0.03 1.37%
Data as of 9:20am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 16.75 0.05 0.30%
Apple Inc 132.54 1.15 0.88%
Hewlett-Packard Co 34.76 0.93 2.75%
AT&T Inc 34.71 -0.42 -1.18%
Microsoft Corp 46.90 -0.52 -1.10%
Data as of May 22

Sections

The record airbag recall and the GM ignition switch recalls has resulted in a huge percentage of cars on the road today having been recalled. More

The True Cost, a new documentary, chronicles the evils of the clothing industry and asks us to stop buying so much cheap stuff More

Sarah Kauss launched S'well to rid the world of plastic water bottles. In five years, she's sold 4 million of her stainless steel bottles. More