Prices of oil hit their first weekly rise in five weeks as surging hostilities in Ukraine made observers anxious over additional economic measures on Russia, and impressive US economic data boosted demand projections.
October-settlement-light, sweet crude advanced $1.41 or 1.5% to $95.96 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest trade rate since Aug. 20. Prices jumped 2.5% this week but declined 2.3% for the month.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization announced Thursday that more than 1,000 Russian troops are fighting in Ukraine. The conflict in Ukraine has claimed an average of 36 lives every day between Jul 16 and Aug. 17, with a death toll of about 2,600 people through Aug. 27, The United Nation said on Friday.
“U.S. demand has been better. Russian troops are still in Ukraine, which is obviously driving up oil prices. Whenever there is an uncertain situation and you have a three-day weekend, prices tend to go toward the up side,”James Williams of London, Arkansas-based WTRG Economics told Bloomberg.
European leaders convened on Saturday and they said new measures were under consideration.
Current economic measures are yet to affect oil shipments from Russia, the second oil-exporting country, and experts say the possibility of an oil-supply interference is minimal.
Better-than-expected US economic data also fueled expectations for fuel demand. The Chicago Business Barometer, also called the Chicago BMI, climbed 11.7 points in August to 64.3. Economists had anticipated the August PMI to add only to 57.0.
The Commerce Department said on Thursday that the US GDP climbed at an annualized rate of 4.2% in the second-quarter, beating an earlier estimate of 4%. Economists had predicted growth of 3.8% for the Gross Domestic Product, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Gasoline futures added 3 cents or 1.1%, to $2.7827 per gallon on the Nymex, the highest price since July 31. The fuel gained 1.6% this week.
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