Oil prices rise as U.S. crude inventories drop
Last Updated: 2013-09-06 10:17 | Xinhua
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Oil prices gained Thursday as official data showed that the crude stockpiles of the United States dropped larger than expected last week.

Energy Information Administration said Thursday that crude supplies fell significantly last week. U.S. crude inventories shrank 1.8 million barrels to 360.2 million barrels for the week ending Aug. 30. Analysts expected a drop of 1.3 million barrels.

Gasoline supplies fell 1.8 million barrels. The EIA report also showed that U.S. refineries operated at 91.7 percent of their total capacity.

A batch of positive economic data also supported the oil prices.

The number of Americans who initially applied for unemployment benefits fell by 9,000 to 323,000, the U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday. This data came out one day ahead of the widely- expected nonfarm payroll report to be released by the Labor Department Friday.

Moreover, the U.S. Non-Manufacturing Index registered 58.6 in August, compared with 56 in July, according to the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector.

The market's rally was underpinned by rising worries over Syria after the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday passed a resolution to authorize a military strike against Syria.

The possibility of a military strike against the Syrian government triggered concerns over oil supplies in the Middle East, where one-third of world's crude is pumped, and drove oil prices higher.

Light, sweet crude for October delivery moved up 1.14 dollars to settle at 108.37 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Brent crude for October delivery climbed 0.35 dollars to close at 115.26 dollars a barrel.

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