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Oil prices rise as U.S. jobless claims fall


08:49, April 26, 2013

NEW YORK, April 25 (Xinhua) -- Oil prices rose sharply Thursday, boosted by a sharp fall in the U.S. jobless claims last week.

The initial claims for jobless benefits was 339,000 in the week ending April 20, down 16,000 from the revised figure of 355,000 in the previous week, the U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday.

Meanwhile, the four-week moving average, which helps smooth out week-to-week volatility, edged down to 357,500 from 362,000 in the previous week.

The spokesman for the U.S. Labor Department said big swings in claims were common this month because layoffs related to school vacations and holidays like Easter did not always happen in the same week each year.

Recent job data signaled an improving labor market, but still not strong enough to significantly cut the unemployment. The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 7.6 percent in March.

The upbeat jobless number sent oil prices and U.S. stocks higher. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock Index rose for a fifth day.

In the U.K., the economy grew 0.3 percent in the first quarter, more than markets' forecast, avoiding a triple-dip recession.

Light, sweet crude for June delivery gained 2.21 dollars, to settle at 93.64 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Brent for June delivery was up 1.68 dollars, or 1.65 percent, to close at 103.41 dollars a barrel.

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