Oil has biggest weekly gain this year
NEW YORK (AP) — Oil rose more than 5 percent this week, even with a decline on Friday, as traders concluded last week's dive to a low for the year was overdone.
The price of oil slipped Friday after a report showing that growth picked up in the U.S. economy last quarter, but not as much as expected. Benchmark oil for June delivery fell 64 cents to $93 a barrel.
Still, oil rose $4.99 a barrel this week. The 5.6 percent increase was the largest weekly gain of the year. After oil hit a low of $86.68 last week, traders seems to look for reasons to buy. They found a few: a sharp drop in U.S. gasoline supplies, positive data on U.S. hiring and increased speculation for a rate cut by Europe's Central Bank.
But the broad economic picture suggests that oil demand will remain constrained in the near-term. The U.S. government on Friday estimated that the economy grew at annual rate of 2.5 percent from January through March. But the markets were expecting growth of 3 percent or better. The U.S. figure follows last week's report of slower-than-expected growth in China.
At the pump, the U.S. average price for a gallon of gasoline was $3.51, down 32 cents from a year ago.
Brent crude, which is used to price oil from the North Sea used by many U.S. refiners, dropped 25 cents to $103.16 a barrel on the ICE futures exchange in London.
In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:
— Gasoline rose 2 cents to $2.83 per gallon.
— Heating oil was flat at $2.90 a gallon.
— Natural gas lost 2 cents to $4.15 per 1,000 cubic feet.