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Crude oil futures turn lower after U.S. jobless claims rise

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Forexpros - Crude oil futures erased gains on Thursday, retreating from a daily high after official data showed that U.S. jobless claims rose unexpectedly last week, while market focus remained on Friday's highly-anticipated speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for delivery in October traded at USD84.94 a barrel during U.S. morning trade, edging down 0.28%.

It earlier rose as much as 1.6% to trade at a daily high of USD86.55 a barrel.

The U.S. Department of Labor said earlier that the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits rose by 5,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 417,000, confounding expectations for a decline to 405,000.

The previous week's figure was revised up to 412,000 from 408,000.

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.

Meanwhile, markets continued to look ahead to Friday's speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke at the central bank's annual conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming for any hints regarding fresh stimulus measures.

Crude prices found support after a number of oil producers announced plans to shut down more than 28 million barrels of oil storage capacity in the Bahamas, as they prepared for Hurricane Irene to make landfall.

Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange, Brent oil futures for October delivery eased down 0.07% to trade at USD110.25 a barrel.

The spread between the two contracts widened to USD25.31, re-approaching the record high of USD26.42 it hit on August 19.

Paolo Scaroni, chief executive of the largest international oil producer operating in Libya, Eni SpA said earlier that it would take the company between six to 18 months to restart oil production in Libya.

The comments come after Wall Street lender Citibank estimated that Libya could resume its full oil production capacity of 1.6 million barrels per day by the end of 2012.

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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.


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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