Crude prices rose on Thursday as U.S. jobless data came in positive, brightening crude demand perspectives.
The U.S. Labor Department reported that the country's initial jobless claims continued decreasing 2,000 in the week ended Feb. 25, pointing to strong improvement in the labor market. The four- week average extended its long convincing trend downward, falling 5,500 to 354,000.
Besides, the same-store sales for January beat Wall Street's expectation thanks to the improving consumer confidence, adding evidence to a strengthening economic recovery.
Light, sweet crude for April delivery rose 1.77 dollars, or 1. 65 percent to settle at 108.84 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, Brent crude for April delivery also gained sharply by 3.54 dollars, or 2.89 percent to finish at 126.20 dollars a barrel.
Shortly after the settlement, there was a report from an Iran state owned media called Press TV, saying "an explosion has hit oil pipelines in the flashpoint Saudi Arabian city of Awamiyah in the kingdom's oil-rich Eastern Province." This headline fueled fears about unstability in the Middle East and great thread confronting the world crude supplies.
Although the Saudi officials had later denied the explosion, it triggered oil's surge. WTI broke 110 dollars a barrel and the Brent Crude soared above 127 dollars a barrel.