NEW YORK, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- Oil prices went up Thursday as unrest in Egypt bolstered concerns that oil supplies from Middle East may be disrupted.
The Middle East accounted for 35 percent of global oil output, according to the International Energy Agency. Egypt controls the Suez Canal and the Suez-Mediterranean Pipeline, through which a large amount of crude and refined oil products were shipped between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.
On the U.S. economic front, the number of Americans who initially applied for jobless benefits in the week ending Aug. 10 decreased 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted number of 320,000, the lowest level in nearly six years, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
Manufacturing activity in the New York region increased at a slightly slower pace in August when compared with that of July, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said Thursday in a survey.
Besides, U.S. builder confidence for August in the market for newly built, single-family homes rose to 59, according to the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo. This fourth consecutive monthly gain brought the index to its highest level in nearly eight years.
These upbeat economic data signaled that U.S. economy is improving and could bolster the oil consumption.
Light, sweet crude for September delivery rose 48 cents to settle at 107.33 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Brent for September delivery went up 91 cents to close at 111. 11 dollars a barrel.