12 September 2013 15:43 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--Crude oil futures gained more than $1.00/bbl on Thursday as data showed new jobless claims in the US declined to the lowest levels since 2006.
By 13:30 GMT, the front-month October ICE Brent contract touched an intra-day high at $112.73/bbl, a gain of $1.23/bbl compared with the previous settlement. The contract then weakened to trade around $112.20/bbl.
At the same time, the front-month October NYMEX WTI contract was trading around $108.00/bbl, having touched an intra-day high earlier at $108.70/bbl, a gain of $1.14/bbl compared to the previous close.
First-time claims for unemployment benefits in the US fell by 31,000 to 292,000 in the week ending 7 September. The fall in fresh unemployment benefit claims indicates improving jobs market in the US, which could also indicate stronger demand for oil.
The US jobs report adds to the already bullish sentiment lingering in the crude oil markets as the US and its allies continue to consider military action against the Syrian government which has been accused of using chemical weapons against its own people.
A military strike against Syria could potentially cause widespread supply disruptions from the Middle East as some nations may take sides creating a wider conflict.
Adding to the bullish tones in the market, Libyan crude oil production remains heavily curtailed causing a deficit of light-sweet crude for refiners based in the Mediterranean region.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its monthly report that Libyan crude oil production plummeted down to around 150,000 bbl/day in early September, down from around 1.60m bbl/day during the Gaddafi era.
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