NEW YORK, July 17 (Xinhua) -- Crude prices gained Thursday as a Malaysian passenger jet crashed in Ukraine. Escalating tensions in Ukraine ignited concerns about the global energy supplies.
A Malaysian flight crashed Thursday in eastern Ukraine near the Russian border, with all the 280 passengers and 15 crew members on board feared dead.
Russia is an important oil production country, and most of Russian crude and gas exports to Europe pass through Ukraine. Any political uncertainty in this area could raise concerns about oil supplies globally.
Crude prices were also supported by the falling crude inventories of the United States.
U.S. crude stockpiles lost 7.5 million barrels to 375 million barrels for the week ended July 11, topping market expectation, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Stockpiles at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for U.S. crude, fell 600 thousand barrels to 20.3 million.
On the economic front, the number of Americans who initially applied for jobless benefits last week declined 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 302,000, said the U.S. Labor Department. The four-week moving average, a less volatile measure of new claims, also dipped 3,000 to 309,000, representing the lowest level in just over seven years, added the department.
Light, sweet crude for August delivery moved up 1.99 dollars to settle at 103.19 U.S. dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for September delivery gained 72 cents to close at 107.89 dollars a barrel.