West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures traded at a one-week high on Thursday, as mostly upbeat U.S. economic data underlined optimism over the health of the economy.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, U.S. crude oil for delivery in August rose to a session high of $103.06 a barrel, the most since July 9, before trimming gains to last trade at $102.57 during U.S. morning hours, up 1.35%, or $1.36.
U.S. oil futures rallied 1.24%, or $1.24, to on Wednesday to settle at $101.20 a barrel. New York-traded oil futures were likely to find support at $100.07 a barrel, the low from July 16 and resistance at $103.56 a barrel, the high from July 9.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said that its manufacturing index improved to a reading of 23.9 this month from June’s reading of 17.8. Analysts had expected the index to dip to 16.0 in July.
Earlier in the day, the U.S. Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending July 12 declined by 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 302,000 from the previous week’s total of 305,000.
Analysts had expected jobless claims to rise by 5,000 to 310,000 last week.
Also Thursday, the U.S. Commerce Department said that the number of building permits issued last month fell by 4.2% to a seasonally adjusted 963,000 units from May’s total of 991,000 units. Analysts expected building permits to rise by 4.2% to 1.04 million units in June.
The report also showed that U.S. housing starts dropped by 9.3% in June to hit a seasonally adjusted 893,000 units from May’s total of 985,000, disappointing expectations for an increase of 0.9% to 1.018 million units.
Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil for September delivery rose 0.43%, or 46 cents, to trade at $107.63 a barrel, as tensions in Ukraine came back into focus.
The U.S. and the European Union announced on Wednesday a fresh round of sanctions against Russia, following the annexation of Crimea in April and ongoing tensions in the rest of Ukraine. The U.S. package was the largest round of penalties so far.
In response to the sanctions, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that relations with the U.S. are in danger of reaching a "dead end" and could damage U.S. business interests in his country.