U.S. crude oil price reversed early losses and bounced back into positive territory Thursday on better-than-expected weekly initial jobless claims in the United States.
Oil was initially dampened by the news that the euro area's GDP in the fourth quarter contracted 0.6 percent, the steepest since the first quarter of 2009. Besides, the GDP of Japan in the fourth quarter also shrank 0.1 percent.
However, U.S. crude rebounded later, boosted by upbeat jobs data. The number of Americans filing for initial jobless benefit in the last week dropped 27,000 to a seasonally adjusted 341,000, pointing to a sustained recovery in the employment market, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
The oil price was also spurred by new reports that the recent round of nuclear program talks between the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Iran failed to make any progress.
Light, sweet crude for March delivery gained 30 cents, or 0.31 percent, to settle at 97.31 U.S. dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Brent crude for April delivery also advanced and last traded above 118 dollars a barrel.