Oil prices closed above $100 a barrel Friday, the first time it crossed that threshold since October.
Benchmark U.S. oil for February delivery rose 77 cents to close at $100.32 in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The price of oil got a boost from a drop in applications for unemployment benefits, the latest sign of recovery in the U.S. job market, and expectations of a decline in U.S. crude stockpiles. Optimism about the U.S. economic recovery lifted expectations for the country’s energy demand.
The last time oil traded above $100 a barrel was Oct. 21. The last day it closed above $100 a barrel was Oct. 18. During the abridged holiday trading week, oil gained $1.
A report from the Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration released Friday showed that U.S. crude stockpiles fell 4.7 million barrels last week to 367.6 million barrels. The supply fell in the last week from 23.4 days’ worth of oil to 22.8 days.
Meanwhile, violence in South Sudan has stoked concerns about the African nation’s oil production.