NEW YORK, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- Crude prices on Thursday rose for the third straight day as supply worries lingered and a string of U.S. weak data fueled stimulus hopes.
According to traders, the gains came as the markets were concerned about the worldwide supplies.
Tensions caused by the unrest in Syria spilled over into Lebanon, causing Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states to evacuate their citizens from the country. Thus dispute over Iran nuclear program, tensions in the Middle East kept posing risks to production in the oil-rich region. Also, heavy maintenance at key fields of North Sea, Brent's source, further tightened the market.
A string of weak data released on Thursday strengthened the hopes for the U.S. Federal Reserve's stimulus actions, which also helped with oil's gains.
The Labor Department said U.S. initial jobless claims rose 2, 000 last week. Housing starts in July slipped 1.1 percent, following a 6.8 percent rebound the month before. While a separate report showed the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank's business activity index for August was still in negative territory for the fourth straight month, indicating contraction.
The September Brend crude contract will expire at the end of trading on Thursday, which caused position adjustment.
Light, sweet crude for September delivery added 1.27 dollars, or 1.35 percent, to settle 95.60 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the first settlement over 95 dollars since Mid-May. In London, Brent crude for September delivery gained and last traded around 117 dollars a barrel.