Crude oil futures extended gains on Thursday, climbing to a fresh daily high after official data showed that new applications for U.S. unemployment benefits fell to the lowest in three-months last week.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for delivery in August traded at USD98.75 a barrel during U.S. morning trade, jumping 0.96%.
It earlier rose as much as 1.01% to trade at a daily high of USD98.81 a barrel.
The U.S. Department of Labor said earlier that the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending July 8 declined by 22,000 to a seasonally adjusted 405,000, the lowest amount since mid-April.
Analysts had expected first time jobless claims to decline to 410,000.
Oil traders have been paying close attention to readings on U.S. employment levels for signs that people are returning to work, thus driving more and using more energy.
A separate report showed that retail sales in June rose by 0.1%, confounding expectations for a flat reading.
Also Thursday, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said that producer price inflation declined by a seasonally adjusted 0.4% in June, after rising by 0.2% in May. Analysts had expected PPI to decline by 0.2% in June.
Stripping out the volatile food and energy categories, core wholesale prices rose 0.3%, more than the 0.2% increase expected.
The dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was down 0.4% to trade at 75.24, hovering near a one-week low.
Dollar-denominated oil futures contracts tend to rise when the dollar falls, as this makes oil cheaper for buyers in other currencies.
Crude prices were also boosted after official data showed on Wednesday that U.S. crude oil inventories fell by 3.1 million barrels last week, significantly higher than expectations for a 2.0 million barrel decline.
Total motor gasoline inventories declined by 0.8 million barrels, confounding expectations for a 0.5 million barrel increase, easing concerns over a slowdown in U.S. gasoline demand.
Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange, Brent oil futures for September delivery dipped 0.15% to trade at USD117.55 a barrel, up USD18.80 on its U.S. counterpart.
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