U.S. oil price fell slightly Thursday as the U.S. dollar appreciated in the wake of upbeat job data.
The dollar strengthened against the euro and yen on the better- than-expected initial jobless claims. The stronger greenback will dampen the demand for dollar-denominated oil and make it less attractive to investors.
The number of Americans initially applying for unemployment aid fell to a five-year low last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
The advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for jobless benefits was 323,000 in the week ending May 4, the lowest since January 2008 and down 4,000 from the previous week.
The decreasing jobless claims point to fewer layoffs despite the federal spending cuts, but companies also need to add more jobs to significantly cut unemployment. In April, the U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 7.5 percent.
U.S. wholesale inventories advanced 0.4 percent in March, following a drop of 0.3 percent, the Commerce Department said Thursday. However, wholesale sales in March fell 1.6 percent, the biggest decrease since March 2009.
Meanwhile, the rising U.S. oil inventories also weighed on the oil price. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported Wednesday that crude supplies of the United State rose 200,000 barrels for the week ending May 3, to a new record of 395.5 million barrels.
Light, sweet crude for June delivery lost 23 cents, or 0.24 percent, to settle at 96.39 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Brent for June delivery was little changed, gained 13 cents, to close at 104.47 dollars a barrel.