NEW YORK, Mar. 18 -- U.S. crude oil price rebounded sharply on Thursday as supply concerns and higher demand expectation lifted the market.
The unrest in the oil-rich Middle East continued on Thursday, with clashes in Libya shutting down almost all its crude output of 1.6 million barrels per day.
Markets analysts said, since Bahrain lies less than 100 km from the hub of the Saudi oil industry at Dhahran, the unrest there remains the key concern to the world oil supply.
Meanwhile, there were positive signals for U.S. economic recovery. The Labor Department said Thursday that applications for unemployment benefits fell last week, and the four-week moving average fell to 386,250, the lowest level since July 2008, reflecting faster payroll gains. And stock markets bounced back after taking a beating on Wednesday.
Also, the demand expectation was pushed higher by the coming reconstruction of Japan's quake-hit areas.
Light, sweet crude for April delivery, which expires on Thursday, gained 3.44 dollars, or 3.51 percent to settle at 101.42 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, Brent crude for May delivery also rose above 3 percent and last traded near 115 dollars a barrel.