Oil soars on positive signs for global economy

U.S. benchmark oil for September delivery rose $2.86 U.S. benchmark oil for September delivery rose $2.86 to close at $107.89 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Above, gasoline drips from a fuel nozzle at a service station in Oregon. (Feb. 23, 2012) Photo Credit: AP file

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The price of oil is suddenly marching upward again.

Oil rose $2.86 a barrel Thursday, for a two-day gain of $4.81, or 4.7 percent. That erased a $4 decline in the week ended Tuesday. U.S. benchmark oil for September delivery gained 2.7 percent to close at $107.89 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Positive signs on the global economy were the catalyst Thursday. Data from China and Europe showed improvement in manufacturing. In the United States, in addition to a strong report on manufacturing, a drop in unemployment claims indicated a strengthening job market.

Even with those signs of improvement, global central bankers show no inclination of easing up on measures that have kept interest rates at historic lows -- and prompted investment in riskier assets like oil and stocks.

European benchmark Brent crude, the raw ingredient for much of the gasoline consumed on the East Coast, rose $1.84 in London to finish at $109.54 per barrel.

Friday, attention will be focused on the release of hiring figures for July, which will be examined for hints about future energy demand in the United States, the world's No. 1 economy.

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