Oil tops $88 per barrel

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BANGKOK The price of oil rose above $88 per barrel on Friday as traders waded back into commodities following sharp sell-offs.

Benchmark crude for May delivery was up 77 cents to $88.50 per barrel at late afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract for West Texas Intermediate rose $1.05, or 1.2 percent, to finish at $87.73 a barrel on Thursday.

Oil dropped $2.04, or 2.3 percent, on Wednesday, which was in its fourth daily drop of at least 2 percent in April. Crude had lost $10 a barrel over the past two weeks as the outlook for the global economy weakened and oil supplies remained high. The relatively low prices have rekindled investor interest, analysts said.

A dimmer outlook for global economic growth has caused the price of oil and other commodities to drop sharply. This week China reported slower-than-expected economic growth while the International Monetary Fund lowered its outlook for world economic growth for this year.

In London, Brent crude, which is used to price oil used by many U.S. refiners, was up 39 cents at $99.52 on the ICE Futures exchange.

In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:

Gasoline rose 0.4 cent to $2.753 per gallon.

Heating oil rose 1.2 cents to $2.781 a gallon.

Natural gas rose 1.5 cents to $4.415 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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