The price of oil rose above $96 a barrel Friday as traders remained confident that the European Central Bank's latest bond-buying plan will go a long way to resolving Europe's debt crisis, ahead of key U.S. jobs figures.
By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark oil for October delivery was up 54 cents at $96.07 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 17 cents to settle at $95.53 on Thursday.
In London, Brent crude was up 56 cents to $114.05 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.
Crude was driven as high as $97.71 on Thursday by word that the European Central Bank would buy unlimited amounts of government bonds to help lower borrowing costs for euro nations that are struggling with debt.
Prices were also boosted by a drop in U.S. unemployment benefit applications and the release of an Energy Information Administration report that showed U.S. crude supplies dropping by more than expected last week. Hurricane Isaac interrupted deliveries of oil imports and refinery activity along the Gulf Coast.
The oil market was looking ahead to the release of U.S. jobs figures for August, to be released later Friday, to help gauge the health of the world's No. 1 economy.
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