US crude prices landed flat Thursday after getting an early lift from some slightly buoyant data on the US jobs market, raised demand forecasts from OPEC, and Chinese economic data as well.
In New York the benchmark contract, West Texas Intermediate crude for September delivery, finished just one cent higher over Wednesday at $93.36 a barrel.
In London, Brent North Sea crude gained $1.08 to $113.22, the highest closing price since May 7.
Somewhat positive economic data underpinned crude's strength, analysts said.
Official data Thursday showed US weekly jobless claims fell to 361,000 -- another sign of moderate strength in the biggest economy's employment market despite a second-quarter lull in hiring.
That kept a floor under the crude price, according to John Kilduff of Again Capital.
Meanwhile China's inflation rate fell to 1.8 percent in July, the lowest since January 2010, providing authorities with more leeway to ease monetary policy to boost the economy.
"Obviously the fact that the inflation's eased... has opened the door to stimulus, which will be good for all commodities, including oil," said Justin Harper, analyst at IG Markets Singapore trading group.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) also came out more bullish on oil demand. The cartel raised its world oil demand forecast to 88.72 million barrels per day in 2012 and to 89.52 million barrels a day in 2013.