Crude futures rebounded Thursday, settling above $101 a barrel. While the U.S. pressured the United Nations (U.N.) to authorize intervention in Libya, violence intensified in Bahrain. Investors continue to remain apprehensive of supply disruptions due to the escalating violence in the Middle East.
Crude for April delivery gained $3.44, settling at $101.42 a barrel. Investors' earlier concerns have subsided as Japan ramps up efforts to contain its nuclear crisis. According to Japanese officials, nearly all refineries are back online. Currently, Japan is the world's third-largest oil consumer.
In the meantime, the U.S. Department of Labor reported a decline of 16,000 in last week's unemployment benefits. Claims fell to the lowest level since July 2008.
The intraday range for oil prices was $96.60 to $101.99 a barrel Thursday.
April natural gas soared to its highest in more than a month on better-than-expected government reports. Last week, U.S. gas inventory shrank by 56 billion cubic feet. With milder weather forecasts on the horizon, traders predict prices to face a lot of pressure in the coming weeks. After trading between $3.91 and $4.17, natural gas futures settled at $4.16 per thousand cubic feet.
Following the trend, gasoline prices settled up at $2.96 a gallon. Futures peaked at $2.966 and bottomed out at $2.815.
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