US crude settles above $108 after bullish data, stockpiles

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Crude rose broadly on Thursday, given a boost by Energy Information Agency crude inventories and encouraging U.S. economic data that underscored strong demand in the world's largest consumer of energy.

The EIA reported that stockpiles fell by 1.8 million barrels, a rate far quicker than analysts estimates. The data helped oil prices recover from earlier weakness, and converged with encouraging U.S. labor data. The figures also fanned new market speculation that the Federal Reserve could soon move to scale back its bond purchases, which may deflate commodity prices.

U.S. oil rose by $1.14 to settle at $108.37. Brent crude added 45 cents to rise above $115.

The data sidelined, at least for the day, lingering concerns over Syria. The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted in favor of a limited strike against Damascus, yet its prospects for passage in the full Senate and House remain uncertain.

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