U.S. Oil Rises $1 Per Barrel On Jobs Growth

U.S. oil rose more than $1 a barrel on Friday as Western relations with Russia worsened over the crisis in the Ukraine and U.S. job growth accelerated by more than expected in an upbeat sign for oil demand.

U.S. non-farm payrolls rose by 175,000 in February, more than the 149,000 that was anticipated and more than in January and December, data from the U.S. Labor Department showed.

Russia said any U.S. sanctions imposed against Moscow over the crisis in Ukraine would boomerang back on the United States, raising the financial stakes as the military standoff intensified.

In the second tense, high-level exchange between the former Cold War foes in 24 hours, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in a telephone conversation against "hasty and reckless steps" that could harm Russian-American relations, the foreign ministry said.

U.S. crude rose to an intra-day high of $102.91 a barrel before settling at $102.58 with a $1.02 gain on the day. Global benchmark Brent rose 90 cents to settle at $109.00 a barrel.

In spite of Friday's price gains, U.S. oil ended lower for the first time in eight weeks. Brent ended lower for the second straight week.

Gains were capped by news that China recorded its first domestic bond default, increasing worries that the world's second-largest economy is slowing faster than expected.

"The stronger jobs numbers showed stronger demand," said Phil Flynn of Price Futures Group in Chicago. "But the reason we're not up dramatically on the Ukraine news is there are real concerns about China."

The strength in crude oil lifted the products markets. New York ultra-low sulfur diesel, or heating fuel, settled nearly 3 cents higher at $3.0121 per gallon, and U.S. gasoline RBOB also ended nearly 3 cents higher at $2.9738 per gallon.

Oil prices had jumped on Monday after military intervention by Russia, one of the world's top oil exporters, on the Crimean peninsula. But both Brent and U.S. oil gave back gains over the week.

Concerns increased again after Crimea's Moscow-backed parliament voted to allow the southern Ukrainian region to become part of Russia on Thursday and scheduled a referendum on the split for March 16.

Analysts said many traders held long positions in anticipation that Ukraine crisis would intensify.

Money managers held the largest net long position in U.S. crude oil futures and options in the week to March 4 since June 2006, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed on Friday.

"It is definitely a good idea to have some length ahead of a weekend's worth of rhetoric about Ukraine," said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital LLC in New York. "Any deterioration in the prospect for a reasonable outcome gets rapidly priced into the market."

(By Elizabeth Dilts; Additional reporting by Alex Lawler in London and Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen in Singapore; Editing by William Hardy, Jane Baird, David Evans, Chris Reese, Diane Craft and Marguerita Choy)