Oil rises above $82, extending Friday's gains

SINGAPORE: Oil prices rose above $82 a barrel Monday in Asia, extending gains from Friday amid signs the global economy may be improving.

Benchmark crude for April delivery was up 67 cents to $82.17 a barrel at late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.29 to settle at $81.50 on Friday.

Investors were cheered by the Labor Department's February jobs report Friday, which showed the U.S. economy shed a less-than-expected 36,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate held at 9.7 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 1.2 percent Friday, and most major Asian indexes rose Monday in early trading.

Crude investors also took heart from news Friday that China plans to extend a stimulus package in hopes of helping the economy grow 8 percent this year.

Oil has soared 18 percent since Feb. 5 as investors become more convinced a growing global economy will boost crude demand.

In other Nymex trading in April contracts, heating oil rose 1.67 cents to $2.1141 a gallon, and gasoline gained 1.49 cents to $2.2859 a gallon. Natural gas was down 6.2 cents at $4.531 per 1,000 cubic feet.

In London, Brent crude was up 74 cents at $80.63 on the ICE futures exchange.