NEW YORK (AP) -- Oil prices are climbing back around $100 per barrel after a crackdown on protesters in Bahrain increased tensions in a conflict that threatens to pull in OPEC heavyweights Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Meanwhile, Japan is expected to boost imports of fossil fuels as the third-largest economy recovers from the Sendai disaster. And the world's largest oil consumer, the U.S., reported Thursday that unemployment claims dropped to the lowest level since July 2008.
Benchmark crude added $1.91 to $99.89 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose as high as $100.67 per barrel earlier in the day. Retail gasoline prices dipped for third day to $3.546 per gallon. They're still up about 42 cents per gallon since the middle of February.