Crude Unchanged After Claims and Spending Data


"U.S. crude oil prices were unchanged on Thursday after national jobless claims fell slightly."

U.S. crude oil prices were unchanged on Thursday after data from the U.S government showed national jobless claims fell only slightly last week and consumer spending rose for a fifth straight month in November.

U.S. initial jobless claims in the week to Dec. 18 were 420,000, down slightly from 423,000 the previous week, the U.S Department of Labor said on Thursday.

Although this matched estimates from a Reuters poll of analysts, the slight change from the previous week cast doubts on the pace of the labor market growth.

U.S. consumer spending rose 0.4% in November, slightly less than expected, after increasing by an upwardly revised 0.7% in October, according to data from the Commerce Department.

U.S crude settled at the highest level since October 2008 on Wednesday, supported largely by a third straight weekly drop in crude oil inventories and a cold spell on both sides of the Atlantic.

U.S. crude oil inventories fell 5.33 million barrels in the week to Dec. 17, compared to expectation for a 2.3 million barrels drop, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

Gasoline stocks rose 2.4 million barrels, a lot higher than analysts' expectations for a 1.4 million barrels build. Distillate stockpiles fell 589,000 barrels, lower than estimates for 700,000 less barrels, the EIA said.

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