Oil Rises, U.S. Jobless Claims Lift Demand Hopes
April 5, 2012 by Gold Editor
SOURCE: [Reuters] - Oil rose on Thursday after two straight days of losses, as initial U.S. jobless claims fell to a near four-year low last week, raising hopes that an improving labor market would lift demand for energy.
Data from the U.S. Labor Department showing first-time claims for state unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level since April 2008 gave U.S. prices an early boost, with further strength coming from short covering ahead of the three-day holiday weekend.
In recent months, new jobless claims have fallen sharply, boosting hopes that the end of a long stretch of heavy layoffs will lead to more hiring, ultimately boosting demand for motor fuel and other energy products.
By 2:35 p.m. EDT (6.35 p.m. GMT), ICE Brent crude for May delivery traded in London at $123.40 barrel, up $1.06, climbing back from the session low of $121.82. The contract is on track to end the week up after three consecutive down weeks.
U.S. May crude settled at $103.31 a barrel, gaining $1.84, after setting a session high at $103.40. For the week, the contract rose 29 cents, ending three successive weeks of losses..
"The move higher on crude has also liquidated the gasoline crack, which hit a high of more than $40 yesterday, but has fallen to $36.75 today," added Tony Rosado, options broker ag GA Global Markets in New York.