NEW YORK, Nov. 22 -- Crude prices rose as U.S. crude inventories fell last week and positive data boosted optimism about U.S. economy, despite the announcement of cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.
Crude prices got boosted as the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported an unexpected drop in U.S. oil inventories. Data showed crude stocks dropped 1.5 million barrels in the week ended Nov. 16, as both imports and demand from refineries dropped in the week. Besides, stocks of gasoline and distillates also fell 1.5 million barrels, 2.7 million barrels respectively.
On the economic front, flash U.S. Markit Manufacturing PMI rose a solid 1.4 points to 52.4 in November, indicating manufacturing grew at its fastest pace in five months. The Leading Indicator in October rose 0.2 percent. Initial jobless claims dropped 41,000 to 410,000 last week, adding positive signs to U.S. economic recovery.
Hamas and Israel agreed on a cease-fire deal that took effect Wednesday night after a week-long airstrikes and rocket fire. Fears for a wider war in Gaza Strip and for a possible oil supplies disruption eased.
But concerns about conflict in the area lingered as experts doubted the effects of the cease-fire. An explosion on a Tel Aviv bus and continuing airstrikes targeted at Gaza militant still worried the investors.
Markets also kept an eye on the debt problems in the euro zone. EU financial ministers are scheduled to meet again on Monday, discussing about release of bailout funds to Greece.
Thursday is U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, the New York Mercantile Exchange trading floor will close.
Light, sweet crude for January delivery gained 63 cents, or 0. 73 percent, to settle at 87.38 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude for January delivery rose 1.03 dollars, or 0.94 percent to finish at 110.86 dollars a barrel.