The price of oil broke two days of steep losses Friday and scrambled back to above $93 a barrel after official predictions that economic growth in Europe would pick up pace in the second half of the year. Ample supplies kept gains in check.
By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark crude for April delivery was up 30 cents to $93.14 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The contract fell $2.38, or 2.5 percent, to finish at $92.84 per barrel in New York on Thursday, the second drop of 2 percent or more in two days.
The European Union's executive arm, the Commission, said Friday that it expects the recession currently afflicting the economy of the 17 EU countries sharing the euro to bottom out during the first half of 2013, with growth seen reaching an annual rate of 0.7 percent in the last three months of the year. In 2014, growth in the eurozone is forecast to accelerate to 1.4 percent.
Crude oil's recent slide is a result of ample supplies and recent speculation that the Federal Reserve may soon allow interest rates to rise, which would reduce the supply of easy cash investors have been using to buy commodities such as oil.
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