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Oil prices settle above $101 per barrel

Oil prices settle above $101 per barrel

March 18th, 2011 in News

NEW YORK (AP) - Oil prices soared more than 3.5 percent, climbing back above $101 per barrel Thursday after a crackdown on protesters in Bahrain and the U.S. stepped up pressure for U.N. action against Libya's Moammar Gadhafi.

Prices also rose on the expectation that Japan will boost fuel imports as its refineries and factories recover from the earthquake and tsunami disaster. And the world's largest oil consumer, the U.S., reported that unemployment claims dropped to the lowest level since July 2008, raising hopes that oil and gasoline demand will soon increase.

Benchmark crude added $3.44 to settle at $101.42 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

In London, Brent crude rose $4.21, nearly 4 percent, to settle at $114.65 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

Oil prices have been pushed and pulled in recent weeks by international crises that could have major impacts on world oil supplies and demand.

The rebellion in Libya has halted oil shipments of about 1.5 million barrels per day from that country. Libya produced about 2 percent of the world's oil. Saudi Arabia and other OPEC nations have said they will increase production to cover shortfalls of Libyan oil, which goes mostly to Europe.