Oil rise to $125.98 per barrel

10 March 2012, Sweetcrude, HOUSTON – Oil prices rose a third straight day on Friday, posting weekly gains.

This followed fading euphoria over the Greece’s debt swap deal and information showing rising US employment countered pressure from a stronger dollar.

Brent crude rose $0.54 to settle at $125.98 per barrel. It posted a 1.88% weekly gain, the sixth weekly rise in seven weeks.

US crude rose $0.82 to settle at $107.40 a barrel after tug-of-war trading from $106.13 to $108.20. For the week, US crude rose marginally, 0.66%, after losing 2.8% last week.

Brent’s premium to US crude ended at $18.58 based on settlements, but dropped below $18 a barrel intraday.

Greece averted the immediate threat of an uncontrolled default after winning strong acceptance from its private creditors for a bond swap deal expected to clear the way for a new bailout.

But Greece’s use of legislation that forces losses on all private creditors triggered the payment on default insurance contracts, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association said on Friday.

While the spotlight in the US was on the employment data, a separate report showed the US trade deficit rose more than expected in January with the gap reaching its widest since October 2008.

Iran’s dispute with the West over its nuclear facilities and enrichment programme and the violent turmoil in Syria continue to hold oil investors’ attention.

The International Atomic Energy Agency does not rule out that Iran may be trying to remove evidence from a military site that IAEA inspectors want to visit, the agency’s chief said on Friday.

IAEA chief Yukiya Amano’s comments came a day after six world powers demanded Iran keep its promise to allow inspectors into the Parchin military complex as part of the UN’s monitoring of Tehran’s nuclear program.

Syrian forces killed at least 54 people on Friday, opposition activists said, as the government sought to quell demonstrations against President Bashar al-Assad before a peace mission by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan.

In Saudi Arabia’s neighbour Bahrain, tens of thousands demonstrated to demand democratic reforms, led by Shi’ite clerics.

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