Oil gains 40 cents a barrel; US average for gasoline at lowest level since December 2011

NEW YORK, N.Y. – The the price of oil rose slightly Friday amid encouraging data on U.S. employment that was offset by the possibility of a loosening of sanctions against Iran by the West.

A possible sign that demand for oil could increase came from China, where October trade data showed growth in overall imports accelerating.

But overall, the backdrop of ample supplies and muted demand that has driven a month-long slide in oil prices was expected to keep a lid on markets.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude rose 40 cents to close at US$94.60 a barrel.

Brent crude, the international benchmark for oil, rose $1.66 to US$105.12 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex, wholesale gasoline added five cents to US$2.55 a U.S. gallon (3.79 litres), heating oil gained three cents to US$2.87 a gallon and natural gas advanced four cents to US$3.56 per 1,000 cubic feet.