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US crude ends on a high note after constructive US data

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Oil futures rose on Thursday supported by positive U.S. economic data, a rise in U.S. gasoline futures and strikes at oil ports in France that curbed supplies.

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell slightly more than expected last week, according to data released Thursday by the U.S. Labor Department, indicating strength in the economy.

U.S. gasoline prices rose more than 1 percent on the back of rising renewable identification number prices and a seasonal selloff in heating oil as traders move to gasoline futures ahead of the summer driving season.

A 24-hour strike on Thursday in France blocked the oil hub of Fos-Lavera, cutting into supply and supporting Brent. The euro rose to a one-week high against the U.S. dollar, which also supported Brent prices, after the European Central Bank (ECB) said it would leave interest rates unchanged.

Brent crude was trading nearly $1 higher above $107 a barrel, having reached a high of $107.30 earlier in the session after the ECB comments.

U.S. crude was up 46 cents at $97.84 a barrel after rising as high as $98.83. The benchmark drew support from snow and ice storms in the northeastern U.S. states, which boosted demand for heating fuels.

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