Crude oil rose to a fresh 6-month high on Friday, closing in on $60 a barrel as the government's better-than-expected jobs report added to hopes of increased energy demand.
Light sweet crude for June delivery climbed to $58.63, up $1.92 on the session. Prices climbed as high as $58.69, oil's highest intraday level since November 11.
The Labor Department report showed that non-farm payroll employment fell by 539,000 jobs in April following a revised decrease of 699,000 jobs in March. Economists had expected a decrease of about 600,000 jobs compared to the decrease of 663,000 originally reported for the previous month.
At the same time, the Labor Department said that the unemployment rate rose to 8.9 percent in April from 8.5 percent in March. The increase, which lifted the unemployment rate to a new 25-year high, came in line with economist estimates.
In other economic news, the Commerce Department said wholesale inventories fell 1.6 percent in March following a revised 1.7 percent decrease in February. Economists expected a 1.0 percent decline.
Traders also had their first chance to react to the official results of the U.S. government's stress tests of the nation's 19 largest financial institutions, which were released late Thursday afternoon. The showed that 10 of the 19 banks tested need to raise a total of $74.6 billion. The banks involved in the exercise account for two-thirds of the assets and more than half of the loans in the U.S. banking system.
The dollar plummeted versus the euro again on Friday, dropping to a six-week low and continuing a 2 1/2-week downtrend. The greenback also fell to a four-month low against the sterling. Commodities often move opposite the dollar because of the precious metal because of the hedge appeal.
Oil added $5.43 per barrel or more than 10% from last Friday's close, its biggest weekly gain since March. On a longer-term basis, crude has been trending higher for about 2 1/2 weeks as traders bet energy demand will rise.
Earlier this week, Energy Information Administration data showed U.S. commercial crude oil inventories increased by 600,000 barrels from the previous week. Experts were looking for a build of about 2.2 million barrels.
Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 200,000 barrels last week.
In other energy trading, natural gas for June delivery jumped to $4.311 per million British thermal units, adding 23 cents on the session. Prices rallied more than 20% on the week.
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