NEW YORK, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- Oil prices were little changed Thursday as investors are digesting the newly released U.S. economic data.
The Labor Department said the number of Americans who initially applied for jobless benefits in the week ending Jan. 11 decreased 2,000 to 326,000, meeting market estimates.
U.S. builder confidence in the market for newly built, single- family homes slipped one notch to 56 in January, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index.
U.S. oil price surged 1.7 percent Wednesday as the crude inventories of the United States tumbled more than expected.
U.S. crude stockpiles fell 7.66 million barrels to 350.2 million last week, the least since March 2012, topping market expectation of a decrease of 1.3 million barrels, the Energy Information Administration said in a report released Wednesday.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said Thursday world oil demand growth for 2014 is expected to increase to around 1.0 million barrels per day (mb/d).
Demand for OPEC crude remains unchanged in 2013 and 2014, the oil cartel said in a monthly report. Required OPEC crude for 2013 is estimated at 29.9 mb/d, representing a decrease of 0.5 mb/d from the previous year. In 2014, demand for OPEC crude is forecast at 29.6 mb/d. The OPEC pumps about 40 percent of the world's oil.
Light, sweet crude for February delivery moved down 21 cents to settle at 93.96 U.S. dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for February delivery lost 4 cents to close at 107.09 dollars a barrel.