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Crude oil futures turn higher after strong U.S. jobs data

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Forexpros - Crude oil futures turned higher in volatile trade on Thursday, re-approaching the daily high after official data showed that U.S. first time jobless claims fell to a four-month low last week, easing fears over the U.S. economic outlook.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for delivery in September traded at USD82.58 a barrel during U.S. morning trade, climbing 1.12%.

It earlier rose as much as 3.25% to trade at USD84.43 a barrel, the highest price since August 8.

The U.S. Department of Labor said earlier that the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending August 5 fell by 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted 395,000, outstripping expectations for a decline to 401,000.

The previous week's figure was revised up to 402,000 from 400,000.

Oil traders have been paying close attention to readings on U.S. employment levels for signs that people are returning to work, thus driving more and using more energy.

A separate report showed that the U.S. trade deficit widened unexpectedly to USD53.1 billion in June, the largest deficit in almost three years.

Meanwhile, concerns over a slowdown in U.S. demand eased after official data showed that U.S. crude supplies fell by 5.2 million barrels last week, confounding expectations for a 1.5 million barrel increase.

It was the biggest decline since the week ended December 17.

Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 1.6 million barrels, after rising by 1.7 million barrels in the preceding week and confounding expectations for a 0.9 million barrel increase.

Crude prices traded as low as USD81.06 a barrel earlier, as strength in the U.S. dollar pressured prices lower.

Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange, Brent oil futures for September delivery rose 0.66% to trade at USD106.13 a barrel, up USD23.55 on its U.S. counterpart.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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