Oil prices extend gains after positive US jobs data
Oil prices rose further on Thursday following positive US employment data that offset news of weaker-than-expected growth in the United States -- the world's biggest energy consumer.
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in February, climbed 95 cents to $99.62 a barrel.
Brent North Sea crude for February added 46 cents to $108.17.
Weekly claims for US unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level since April 2008 last week, the Labor Department said Thursday, yet another sign that the jobs market is in recovery in the world's biggest economy.
The data was better than most economists expected, with claims 364,000 last week versus the consensus estimate of 380,000.
However separate data showed that the US economy grew by a slower-than-expected 1.8 percent in the third quarter as household spending dropped according to the Commerce Department.
Growth was down 0.2 percentage points versus the previous estimate and below economist expectations.
Oil prices were meanwhile rising for a fourth day in a row after strong gains on Wednesday after official data showed that US crude inventories fell by far more than expected.
Promising economic news from the US and Europe sent oil prices surging more than $3.0 on Tuesday, while tensions over major crude-producer Iran added to the buying interest, traders said.
© 2011 AFP