NEW YORK, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- Oil prices on Thursday gained for the second day as the U.S. Federal Reserve's tapering signaled American economic outlook improves.
The U.S. central bank on Wednesday announced plans to cut its monthly bond purchases to 75 billion dollars from 85 billion dollars.
The U.S. economic activity is expanding at a moderate pace, and labor market conditions have shown further improvement, and the unemployment rate has declined, the Fed said in a statement. The positive prospects gave support to the oil prices.
On the economic data, the number of Americans who initially applied for jobless benefits last week rose 10,000 to 379,000, the highest level since March, said the Labor Department Thursday.
The existing-home sales in the U.S. dropped 4.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.9 million in November, although median prices continued to show a strong year-over-year growth, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Oil prices extended their gains as investors shrugged off these worse-than-expected economic data.
Light, sweet crude for January delivery gained 97 cents to settle at 98.77 U.S. dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange,while Brent crude for January delivery moved up 66 cents to close at 110.29 dollars a barrel.